More than half of F1 Fanatic readers voted Romain Grosjean the Driver of the Weekend for the Belgian Grand Prix after he took his first podium finish of the season.
The Lotus driver was consistently one of the quickest drivers on track during the race. He held fourth place in the closing stages when Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure gifted him third, but Grosjean believed he had a good chance of passing the Ferrari anyway.
Grosjean’s win marks the first time he’s topped the Driver of the Weekend poll since the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix, and makes him the seventh different winner this season from eleven races.
Romain Grosjean’s Belgian Grand Prix
As usual, Grosjean missed out the first practice session on Friday as the team gave further track time to reserve drive Jolyon Palmer. When he did finally get out on track in second practice he ended up with the seventh fastest time, 0.3 seconds shy of the quickest non-Mercedes.
Saturday got off to an unpromising start: Grosjean was only 16th in final practice following an alarming near-miss with Kimi Raikkonen, who slowed in front of the Lotus on the approach to Blanchimont.
It came good for Grosjean in qualifying, however, as he produced the surprise of the session to qualify fourth on grid – unfortunately, a gearbox change penalty meant that became ninth place.
In the race he started well and picked up a place when team mate Pastor Maldonado clattered a kerb too hard and retired. Grosjean’s pace was especially strong in his second stint – more often than not showing as the quickest non-Mercedes car – as he dispatched Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez on his way to battle for the podium.
Whether Grosjean would have finished on the podium without Vettel’s tyre blow-out is something we’ll never know – but taking Lotus’s first rostrum finish since 2013 was certainly a just reward for his efforts.
Grosjean: Qualified fourth, started ninth, finished third.
Couldn’t have qualified higher, couldn’t have finished higher. Drove a clean race, had a brilliant strategy. Ten out of ten for the Lotus driver.
Grojean for me, he had a bit of luck but despite a penalty he still managed to drive a great race and put his car much higher than anyone expected.
For me, obviously Romain Grosjean. He once again out-qualified his tea mmate, and unfortunately had to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. That didn’t affect him though! He drove a superb race, making his way up to fourth, all over the back of Vettel until his tyre exploded. He deserved third more than anyone else in my opinion, including Vettel. If it wasn’t for the penalty, Vettel would have been nowhere near Grosjean.
Belgian Grand Prix winners and losers
After once more dominating his team mate when it mattered, Lewis Hamilton was highly rated again.
In the end the sheer gap Hamilton achieved in qualifying and the measured way he won the race by only as much as he needed to on during a weekend where tyres were a concern and his engine is probably nearing it’s end of life. The performance couldn’t have been any better.
Max Verstappen was another driver whose starting position was compromised by a penalty – his due to an engine change – but the Toro Rosso driver impressed again with his overtaking moves:
Max Verstappen. His last stint was faster than anybody else bar Mercedes. On lap 33-42 he was only 0.22 second off Lewis pace in average.
Bonus point for all his exiting overtakes.
Nico Rosberg and Grosjean’s team mate Pastor Maldonado were among those with no votes at all however, while Spa-master Kimi Raikkonen picked up just 1% and fifth placed Perez only picked up 7% of the vote, much to the surprise of some.
Perez for me too, I’m surprised he has so few votes. Grosjean was more or less matched by Maldonado until he retired which would suggest Lotus were much quicker than expected at this track. Considering how he spent most of the race defending I would say Perez out-qualified the car’s potential significantly, then held onto what places he could.
While Vetttl earned some praise for his efforts:
It has to be Vettel . The man was so fast he blew his tyres off.
2015 Belgian Grand Prix
- How a secret Mercedes engine mode helped pressure Vettel into a race-ending puncture
- “If drivers respect track limits there’s no problem” – Spa responds to Pirelli over ‘debris’
- Tyres should be able to cope with debris – Massa
- Pirelli urge better track cleaning after Spa blow-outs
- Podium earns Grosjean Driver of the Weekend win
14 comments on “Podium earns Grosjean Driver of the Weekend win”
2nd September 2015, 11:18
Shame Vettel did not finish third. I wonder how much votes he would’ve gotten considering his car was slower than a Force India and Lotus on the day but being the only one daring the one-stop still being on the podium… All in all this was perhaps Vettel his third best race of the season.
2nd September 2015, 11:33
Maybe the Lotus could have won the race if not for their second stop! It’s the end result that counts.
Kim Philby (@philby)
2nd September 2015, 11:47
No it’s not. The tyres are not supposed to explode, had he lost his place due to excessive tire wear leading to slower pace you would be right.
2nd September 2015, 14:58
Or, if he’d actually obeyed track limits, perhaps he’d have finished the race, although he’d have probably lost a few seconds, and probably 3rd place anyhow.
When the right wheel is hitting the curbs on the left side of the track, you’re definitely outside track limits.
2nd September 2015, 16:36
Thank you, Well put. When you go “off road” things happen.
2nd September 2015, 17:08
You mean like every single other driver and he was the only unlucky one to get an actual blowout…
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
2nd September 2015, 19:25
Well, yes, actually that is exactly right: he was the unlucky one! It’s part of the gamble in racing: if you stay on the track then you are less likely to damage your tyres, so your tyres have a longer life and have less chance of an unexpected tyre failure, but you might concede a place to a faster car.
On the other hand, if you go “off track” and don’t get a puncture, then your gamble paid off. Your got the long life and you were slightly faster through those corners, arguably making it harder for those following you to overtake you. As such, you get the laurels, and everyone praises you for your “great drive”. Unfortunately, Vettel just happened to “draw the short straw”, he wanted long life from his tyres, he went off track, he got a puncture, and paid the price for it.
3rd September 2015, 8:30
@drycrust EVERY DRIVER went off track. EVERY DRIVER was cutting corners thorughout the entire GP. Thus Vettel was the only unlucky one to get an actual blow-out. This simply has nothing to do with Vettel his driving, Ferrari their strategy or anything else but Pirelli poor tyre construction…
2nd September 2015, 15:24
Vettel messed up in Q3 which put them on the back foot and that’s why Ferrari went for that desperate strategy.
3rd September 2015, 8:31
@patrickl and @george Most likely the Ferrari just had no pace on one lap in Spa, seems a whole lot more likley than ‘Vettel messed up’…
I don’t think he would have been much higher as he himself also said.
3rd September 2015, 15:16
They had the pace and Vettel admitted that he went wide and ruined his lap. He didn’t think he lost that much time, but when there is only 3 tenths between P3 and P9 you lose places quickly.
2nd September 2015, 17:55
His qualifying counts against him (albeit with the margins in Q3 being very small). He didn’t really look comfortable all weekend, but he took care of his tyres very well in the race until they self-destructed.
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
2nd September 2015, 19:33
According to the Wikipedia entry for Lotus F1, Lotus are using Mercedes engines this season. Also, according to the stills I took of the onboard camera video, the caption at the bottom of the screen that shows who is driving the car says “Romain GROSJEAN Lotus-Mercedes”.
2nd September 2015, 22:57
Non-Mercedes car and non-Mercedes powered car are two different things mate, or at least that’s how I read it.
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