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Romain Grosjean Q&A: Chasing the Bulls is a Texan tradition 16 Nov 2013

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, USA, Texas, Saturday, 16 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, USA, Texas, Saturday, 16 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, USA, Texas, Saturday, 16 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Practice, Austin, Texas, USA, Friday, 15 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, USA, Texas, Saturday, 16 November 2013

Romain Grosjean has been in sparkling form over the second half of the season, and on Saturday in Austin he was on the top of his game once more, qualifying 'best of the rest' behind the dominant Red Bulls. Later on he explained why he'll be looking at challenging Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in Sunday's race, rather than looking in his mirrors at those behind him…

Q: Romain, best of the rest - how does that feel?
Romain Grosjean:
It feels great! Qualifying went well indeed for us. We managed to do Q1 on the primes - that wasn’t the original plan - and we realized that even though we weren’t quick enough, we were quicker than the rest. From there we picked up performance and viola: we managed to make it to P3 on the grid. We could have probably been a bit quicker in time, but we wouldn't have been able to outperform the Red Bulls in qualifying. The race is another matter as over 56 laps everything is possible if you're running on the right strategy. And our strategy has always been one of our best assets.
 
Q: It seems to become a normal procedure seeing you behind the two Red Bulls - how comfortable did you feel in the car?
RG:
To be honest, it’s not an easy track and it is not so easy to get the car right. There is a significant gap between the temperatures in the morning and at noon so it is always difficult to get enough data from the morning session to immediately kick it off when it counts. Take for example yesterday: we hadn’t been really looking good on the timesheets, but we knew that the car was there all the time. So changing to warmer conditions from yesterday to today and from this morning to qualifying did help us a lot. Based on that we were targeting a position between three and five in qualifying - and here we are, on the upper end of our expectations! (laughs)
 
Q: How is it to have Heikki (Kovalainen) alongside you? You know him from your time in the Renault driver development programme…
RG:
Yes, we go back quite a way and I think that it was the right call from the team to take him. To make it off the cuff into Q3 with a car he doesn’t know - that’s a pretty amazing performance leaving all the Mercedes, Ferraris and McLarens behind him.
 
Q: So is it the driver or is the Lotus simply such a good car that it is inevitable that you'll be faster then the majority?
RG:
It is both. Neither a good driver in a bad car nor a good car with a poor driver will make a huge splash - so you always have to see that both things come together. In our case it does.
 
Q: So you are both not looking back but ahead towards the Red Bulls. Can you challenge them in the race? Is the aim a podium finish?
RG:
Of course that is what we are aiming for. Maybe there is a spark of a thought of winning the race because if I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t be a proper race driver. Let's wait and see what is possible on Sunday. We are in Texas so chasing the Bulls has tradition here!
 
Q: It is a pretty unusual start here - going steeply uphill. Is that a chance or an obstacle for you, starting in third?
RG:
To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. Yes, it is a strange first corner, but why not have something different once in a while. It is a pretty good track with some good high-speed corners, but also a number of low-speed ones, so much will depend on finding the right balance between these two ends. Thankfully our car feels just right.
 
Q: P2 in the constructors’ championship is still an undecided matter. When looking where your immediate opponents Mercedes and Ferrari are starting, would you say that everything is still open given both Lotus cars are starting in points-scoring positions?
RG:
That is our aim - to have both cars in the points and to get closer to P2 in the constructors’ again as we absolutely haven’t given up that target and from how the car behaves and from what Heikki has shown today it is absolutely within reach.

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