Romain Grosjean, Haas, Hockenheimring, 2018

Top teams’ drivers have it “easy” in midfield – Grosjean

2018 German Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean has said that it’s ‘easy’ for top team drivers like Ricciardo or Hamilton to recover places after penalisation or bad qualifying, saying there’s two different leagues of F1.

Asked whether he was hoping to hold Hamilton or Ricciardo, who qualified P14 and P15 respectively following a hydraulic failure for Hamilton and power unit usage penalties for Ricciardo, he said the cars were incomparable and that a top team drive ‘makes life easier.’

Speaking about Hamilton, Grosjean said “The way he came back in Silverstone… We’ve got F1 A and F1 B. He was eighth in Silverstone after nine or eight laps.

“Is that easy? For him it was. And at Silverstone – they’re two seconds faster in the race, what that means is even at a hard track to overtake you’ve got a good chance with a 1.2 seconds advantage or whatever.

“In the race they’ve got a big time advantage and it just makes their life easier. Same time, you never know but there’s quite a lot of straight line here and he’s got the choice of tyres as well, so he may do a different strategy.

“Ricciardo is a bit further away but again they’ve got a good car, they’ve got a lot of downforce, they’re going to use the slipstream in a straight line and have the downforce in the corners.”

The two Haas drivers were the ‘best of the rest’ behind the Ferraris and the remaining Red Bull of Verstappen and Mercedes of Bottas. Asked if he was happy accepting that the best possible drive would, on a normal day, see him starting seventh Grosjean said the most interesting fight was in the midfield:

“Well it’s quite cool actually. I think we are having good fun because it’s a tight battle with us, Renault, with Force India today and it’s quite fun, you know.

“It’s interesting and there’s a good game of trying to keep two sets of new tyres for Q3. Yes, I would like to start to race weekend thinking I could win the race but that’s not the case – I can be quite happy trying to be the best of the League B.”

Grosjean suggested offering separate prizes for the winners of F1’s two ‘classes’. “There should be two trophies – one for the less than €200 million budget and one for the more than €200 million.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 8 comments on “Top teams’ drivers have it “easy” in midfield – Grosjean”

    1. I’m looking forward to the respective moments he’s about to be passed by Hamilton and Ricciardo.

      1. Hope you have fun out of that specifically….

    2. Grosjean contract is already over, right?
      Have Ferrari already given the Haas seat to LeClerc, right?

    3. Well, in some ways what Grosjean is talking about might seem rather familiar to those who remember the Jim Clark Trophy and the Colin Chapman Trophy from 1987, where F1 did in fact go as far as awarding separate trophies to the normally aspirated runners in recognition of the fact that they were so far behind as to effectively be in a separate league that year.

      1. This is a very good point! It feels a bit defeatist when in theory they’re all using the same technology though, even if we know that there are radical gaps between teams.

    4. It’s been like shooting fish in a barrel for Lewis when he finds himself nearer the back.

    5. Neil (@neilosjames)
      21st July 2018, 22:56

      My memory might be fading slightly, but I remember the days when many of the midfielders fought hard to defend their positions against top teams. Thinking late 90s, 2000s… could be that DRS has made it pointless to resist, but there’s definitely a more defeatist attitude among the midfield runners now than there was back then.

      I don’t expect them to actually keep them behind with a 100% success rate, but it’d be nice just to see them take the defensive line every now and then. I remember Alonso’s defensive driving in Mexico last year against Hamilton for two reasons – brilliant driving and car placement first of all, but also because it was so incredibly unusual to see.

    6. Mark in Florida
      22nd July 2018, 0:27

      I don’t know, if you try too hard to defend it might affect next year’s engine price that you pay. Yeah Hamilton passing all of those cars makes a joke out of F1. Theres the top team’s and then the field fillers. You can’t run through the field in Indy Car series like that if you go to the back it’s much harder to make up places, ask Josef Newgarden.

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