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MOTORSPORT: Grosjean delighted with Indian display
6:51pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Sport
Sebastian Vettel may have clinched his fourth world title with victory in Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix, but Romain Grosjean enjoyed the drive of the day.
Starting from 17th place on the grid, the Frenchman, from the Enstone-based Lotus team, zoomed all the way up to third behind winner Vettel and Nico Rosberg.
Grosjean completed a one-stop race, running way beyond the maximum number of laps recommended by Pirelli.
He caught his teammate Kimi Raikkonen with four laps to go, and passed him, but had to give up the place again because he completed the move by running off the track.
Raikkonen then let him pass on team orders.
The Finn, struggling to get his tyres to the end, finished in seventh place and is still third in the drivers’ championship.
“If you had told me that I’d be on the podium here I would have said you were crazy,” said Grosjean.
“Straight from the beginning of the race I felt very comfortable on the option tyres and we looked in pretty good shape.
“Then we fitted the mediums and the car was really quick.
“I lost quite a lot of time behind (Esteban) Gutierrez which maybe cost us the fight for second, but we managed to come back from that well.
“When I saw that I was fourth with 27 laps to go I knew it was going to be close as we had to take care of the tyres, plus we had an engine issue which made things quite tricky.
“In the final laps, Kimi was really struggling with his tyres, so I managed to pass him and luckily had enough pace to keep Felipe behind.
“Before the race our best prediction was fourth if we had a strong start and a perfect race, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged Pastor Maldonado is vying with Nico Hulkenberg to replace Raikkonen with the Finn moving to Ferrari in 2014.
Both drivers are understood to have finalised deals with Lotus, who must choose between them.
Sauber driver Hulkenberg is believed to be Lotus’s No 1 choice, but it could depend on concluding an investment deal that has been dragging for months.
1 S Vettel 322pts, 2 F Alonso 207, 3 K Raikkonen 183, 4 L Hamilton 169, 5 M Webber 148, 6 N Rosberg 144, 7 R Grosjean 102, 8 F Massa 102, 9 J Button 60, 10 P Di Resta 40.
1 Red Bull 470pts, 2 Mercedes 313, 3 Ferrari 309, 4 Lotus 285, McLaren 93.