Sergey Sirotkin, Romain Grosjean, Singapore, 2018

Grosjean blames Sirotkin’s ‘go-kart’ driving for delaying Hamilton

2018 Singapore Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Romain Grosjean accused rival Sergey Sirotkin of “go-kart racing” tactics after he was penalised for failing to let Lewis Hamilton past while racing the Williams driver.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting described Grosjean’s slow reaction to the blue flags being waved for him as “one of the worst” examples of a backmarker failing to let the leaders past.

Grosjean, who was given a five-second time penalty and had his licence endorsed, apologised for delaying Hamilton but said Sirotkin’s driving left him with no alternative.

“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” said Grosjean. “I believe I did my best.”

“I was fighting with Sergey, who was doing a little bit of go-kart racing out there. I couldn’t really slow down. Pierre [Gasly] was on my gearbox and Sergey was on my front wing. I passed him, then as soon as I passed him, I let Lewis by.”

Grosjean’s penalty dropped him from 13th place to 15th in the final classification. Team principal Guenther Steiner said he paid the price of having to start on used tyres because he qualified in the top 10.

“If you have to start on these tyres, and the other ones are so much superior, if you qualify outside of the top 10 you have such an advantage.

“Then we got stuck behind the Williams, which didn’t move out of the way, one thing went to another, and that’s where we ended up.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

41 comments on “Grosjean blames Sirotkin’s ‘go-kart’ driving for delaying Hamilton”

  1. What does “Go-kart driving” mean?

    If you drive defensively and try to keep the opponent behind you, within the regulations, isn’t that just “driving”?

    1. And isn’t F1 essentially glorified go-karting anyway? It’s like he was complaining about Sirotkin doing the job he was paid to do!

      I know Singapore isn’t a great track for overtaking, but a driver with a decade of experience in a front-midfield car unable to get past a rookie in the worst car on the grid?! Move over and let one of the young ones get a seat.

  2. This was his best? What a short sighted annoying man.
    1. Broke the rules and got punished, lost positions anyway
    2. How is he expecting to get a better drive by annoying top teams
    3. He can’t slow down to let the leader past without losing position? Think how Ham gave the place back in Hungary 2017 to Bottas even though Max was right behind or how he was holding up Rosberg in Abu Dhabi. But no, Gro isn’t capable of this.
    4. Blaming the driver ahead for not letting the leader by behind?

    What a silly guy… time to go…

    1. Grosjean is the most over-rated driver on the grid currently.

      1. his records show that already :) he will break another record by taking 2 race bans within x amount of years…

    2. And 5. He is quick to complain about other drivers on track behaviour.

  3. Kinda depressing that next years grid will be lacking Alonso and Ocon (most likely), but still have Grosjean and Kimi filling out the mid-field…

    But at least Stoffel will be gone!

    1. Leave Kimi alone, he know what he is doing

      Maybe we won’t have Grosjean…

    2. @joeypropane You got it wrong: It should be ‘Kinda depressing that next year’s grid will be lacking Alonso and Ocon (most likely), and Stoffel (also very likely), but still have Grosjean and Kimi, as well as, very possibly Kvyat filling out the mid-field.”

      1. What weird world where some people would prefer to have Vandoorne over Kimi in F1.

        1. Not really… lots of people would like to see if Vandoorne can unlock his obviously huge potential in a different environment and with equal status. Whereas the Raikkonen I knew and loved in the mid-2000s checked out a decade ago and hasn’t looked anything like the same since (including being further from Alonso than Vandoorne has been), so even as a Kimi fan I’d be happier if he’d just retired at the end of this season.

        2. @dusty why? Stoffel could bounce back and regain the dominant self, which showed so much in feeder series. He clearly is very talented Kimi is past his prime and will only be filling the grid until he retires. I hope SV stayed.

    3. Seems strange that Kimi will willing go from a potential championship winning team to a midfield runner, this looks like a demotion similar to Daniil Kyvat at RBR but without the justification … just a thought.

  4. I mean, no doubt he should have bounced right out of the way when he first got the blue flags. Clearly Grosjean wanted to get past Sirotkin before he had to yield because otherwise his work of getting onto the gearbox of the Williams would be wasted, and potentially he’d lose a place to Gasly. I mean, they all were fighting for position. That literally was their race.

    That said, with how tight Singapore is, from what I could see there wasn’t many places he could ‘disappear’ to, and by the time Hamilton was all over the back of the Haas he had almost no choice but to continue getting past Sirotkin. So I can ‘kinda’ see where he’s coming from. Still should have bounced earlier, but because he didn’t, he had nowhere to go. So still his fault.

    That said the ‘blue flag’ drama was about the most exciting part of the race so personally I think we should do away with blue flags entirely. If the leading cars are quicker then let them be quicker, and if they tangle with slower ones that’s their problem. Would certainly make ‘lapping the field’ far more interesting to watch if they had to work for it.

    1. “Charlie, make him get out of my way” is the new F1 mantra. Well, that and “Daddy, buy me an F1 career”. Such a sense of entitlement. And please, please explain why Grosjean gets penalty and points for “impeding” the driver who STILL handily won the race? Hamilton won by nearly 9 seconds. Guess he was entitled to win by 16 seconds? That battle between Grosjean and Sirotkin was the only entertaining part of the entire race! I guess back markers should pull over, stop, get out of the car and bow when the top teams get close? Curtsy? Take a knee?

      Perez gets a drive through for causing two on-track incidents that require safety car deployment and race delays, not to mention destroying equipment. Grosjean holds up the sainted Hamilton, five seconds and two license points. Really? REALLY?

      1. The reason for the blue flags is to stop affiliated teams or other team members holding up opponents. For example Haas or Sauber May want to be a mobile chicane when a Ferrari rival is about to lap them, gives Ferrari a chance to close the gap and possibly challenge for the lead. Blue flags stop that behaviour.

        1. Thats exactly what i said before….

          If the behaviour is allowed there is no reason top 3 teams using 2nd teams/drivers to block/slow down rivals when otherwise impossible or difficult… or just use them as blocks to destroy rival team’s tyres and frustrate them make mistakes…

          There has to be a line…. People can always say “no this is hindering competition/racing” but if rules not drawn, racing can be killed fairly easily using above example… People dont like team orders, imagine above scenario?

      2. Grosjean holds up the sainted Hamilton, five seconds and two license points. Really? REALLY?

        You are right, it was way too lenient. Should have been drawn and quartered. And all his forebears and descendants, up to the tenth generation.

    2. Donald F. Draper
      17th September 2018, 16:13


      To me, Verstappen stating that it wasn’t fair to Hamilton kind of shows you that they are just gifting Hamilton a win in some aspects. If you saw a chance like that, even on a tight street circuit, wouldn’t you want to go for the win or at least an overtake?? It’s certainly more exciting if drivers have to work for it. Situations like that can really spice up championships and give us all the desired overtaking that fans, teams and drivers alike are requesting.

      1. Gifting Hamilton a win…. my God. IT’s WITHIN THE RULES FOR MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS.

        You should watch more races. If he let Hamilton by, then it would be Sirotkin’s turn and he would catch up again. There are some races that the guy to be lapped slows down to the point you think he has some issue with the car. Then the guy ahead of him does the same, he catches up, they continue their thing exactly as it was before.

        That’s what Grosjean should have done. He was so much faster than Sirotkin with busted tyres that even if he lost contact, he would catch up in less than half a lap.

        Can’t believe someone think it’s ok when a top driver does a recovery drive for everyone to just move out of the way because he is fighting for the title when that’s a true fight for position, but it’s not cool when back markers move out of the way to not slow down the leader. Go figure.

        1. Donald F. Draper
          17th September 2018, 17:40

          Ed, I believe you’re missing the point of @rocketpanda and myself. We just feel that if the blue flags were removed the racing would be more interesting.

          1. I can’t see what’s the point of a back marker fighting with the leader of the race being a normal thing.

            What we would see is drivers being selective of who they let by easily or not.

            Comes to my mind Damon Hill blocking Schumacher on Japan 1997. An absolute prove of poor sportsmanship.

          2. @Ed 1983 Austria too with Jarrier, but why would a team hire a driver who would do that these days? Would just make the driver and team look bad. With the performance difference between the top teams and the rest of the field right now, it really wouldn’t be that difficult for them to overtake anyway.

            F1 is part entertainment right? Charlie must feel like the headmaster of a school the way he disciplines

          3. Removing blue flags will have the consequence that in some races the nr 2 will be held up and unable to challenge the nr1 for the win. You can see it sometimes in Indy and IMSA. There are no perfect blue flag rules, but I think the way F1 does it, it makes sure that the fasted cars can fight.

      2. Donald,

        Max is just being consistent, as he doesn’t want to be held up himself either.

  5. Then we got stuck behind the Williams, which didn’t move out of the way

    Did Steiner really said this? Wow … Why on earth should SIR “move out of the way” for GRO?

    1. Steiner must hate to go along with Grosjean’s excuses.
      It must feels embarassing to say something like that with a straight face to the press.

  6. I couldn’t really slow down. Pierre [Gasly] was on my gearbox

    What about that whole period when Lewis was the car directly behind you and you should’ve let him through? It’s not Sirotkin’s fault that you’re a bit thick.

  7. Oh Romain. You’re a headcase. You’ve always been a headcase and you probably always will be. You’ve just been accused by Formula One’s race director of forgetting the golden rule of blue flags and that your breach “was probably one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time”.

    When someone clearly in the wrong continues to blame someone else, and refuses to look at his own behaviour on the track then, for me, that demonstrates a dangerous level of hubris and lack of judgement which will only continue to manifest as questionable driving in future races. If someone can’t or won’t see that they’re the problem, then maybe they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.

  8. Nonsense. If/when a group of cars is caught by the race-leader(s) then they should let him by one-by-one starting, of course, from the back of that group with the one leading that group the last to yield.

  9. I’m sorry to say, but Grosjean still suffers every now and then from his tunnel vision that affected him in the early parts of his career, which was causing him to have so many accidents. He lacks spatial awareness.

  10. That was a rather clickbait title. He made his case and apologised. The term go-kart racing was cherry picked for controversy’s sake.

    Way to write Buzzfeed article.

  11. Time to say goodbye to Grosjean. He seems to be getting worse by the race.

    1. I’m confused by this @silfen because Grosjean before Singapore had the most points gained by the “b-league” class of drivers with Hulkenburg being second to that over the course of the last half of the European leg. So in 6 races Grosjean gained more points than anyone else. It seems people rather cling to the bad a driver does rather than get a full picture before just blurting out comments on the matter.

      I think Grosjean needs to be more consistent myself but to make sweeping statements like this are pretty bad. I think in this case I can see why Grosjean felt he was overcharged, considering him and Sirotkin both swapped places and both delayed Hamilton and Verstappen. I think both should have a penalty considering when Sirotkin was passed he still charged Romain in a fight while Hamilton was on his gear box and vice versa. I think both drivers were in the wrong to some degree, but I don’t feel Grosjean was out there trying to be a threat to anyone, Sirotkin on the other hand is questionable. He was in 3 incidents that led to him either getting a penalty or the driver he fought.

      1. @magillagorilla You say it yourself, Grosjean needs to be more consistent. He may have had some good races recently but in general he has a very bad season imho. Worse than the previous years compared to the car he is driving and his teammate. And this race doesn’t make it any better.

        You need to yield to a lapping driver within 3 blue flags waved and Grosjean clearly didn’t because he was fighting Sirotkin. He only yielded after having passed Sirotkin and then held Verstappen up without any need as he was not fighting Sirotkin anymore, whereas Sirotkin allowed both drivers past soon after he was passed by Grosjean. Or do you expect Sirotkin to yield to Grosjean too, because of the blue flags?
        And about Sirotkin I do not agree. The incident with Perez was all to blame on Perez who unnecessarily (may be deliberately) steered into Sirotkin and the incident with Hartley was because of a damaged car (and trying to keep it out of the wall). So yes, he could a rightful penalty for that (as he agreed himself) but he could hardly be blamed for that.

        1. @silfen
          He’s had a rough season sure, I can name several drivers who have had rough seasons that are currently going to race the 2019 cars. I can also say it’s interesting that Magnussen is hailed for his work at Haas yet funny enough it was just last season that pundits and fans alike thought he too should be removed. Especially when he made very brazen comments at other more liked drivers for the time. He too had a bad season last year while Grosjean was the hero, now people want to have a short term memory and say Grosjean shouldn’t be given a shot. What about Kimi when he wasn’t doing so good and Grosjean was matching him at times, or Kimi and his bad seasons at Ferrari. What about Hulk’s bad seasons, Lewis and his 2011 season where he couldn’t stop from getting into incidents.

          There is a whole host of reasons why drivers who are capable of having a bad spot of luck like anyone else have such moments in time. Grosjean is showing that he is trying to turn that around, has outperformed his team mate during the second half of the season in both races and quali. Yet that’s not good enough to some because why be logical when you can have visceral thoughts every time a driver that isn’t liked has a bad day.

          As for the blue flag incident I’ve said my piece as far as the two of them go, he wasn’t trying to impede anyone and from his view point as a racer I can understand his point. He’s fighting for position and doesn’t want to lose an opportunity. However, the rules are there and as I said both of them should have face penalty, Sirotkin wasn’t innocent and it showed later on what type of driving he’d been doing all along. It’s a very narrow street course and thus it’s hard for driver to disappear, nothing I saw showed that he was trying to impede Verstappen after letting Lewis by. However, had he just let them both by in the first place he’d have avoided all this. I never said that Grosjean should get a free pass and only Sirotkin should yield, you some how reading into my post is strange please don’t make up stuff.

          Perez didn’t deliberately steer into him, it’s already be ruled that it wasn’t on purpose, so there is no question on that front maybe if you’re paranoid. But the FIA has ruled that wasn’t the case and Perez was penalized for not using his awareness. The incident with Hartley wasn’t for a damaged car he claimed that the damage from Perez caused his car to be impossible to drive yet he held off Perez easily a second time, Grosjean even more so, and both STR drivers. The only car to get by him with ease was Hulk. So it’s hard to see how he could do all this fighting for many laps and suddenly in a single corner his car just wasn’t performing because of previous damage. When in reality it was probably his nearsightedness as well, and if the car was that broken he should of been black flagged. He locked up under breaking and drove Grosjean wide yet didn’t blame that on his car, it would seem he made mistakes because of the pressure he was put under, more so than the car.

  12. R8G, your time is up. Pack your bags.

  13. This could actually have been Ericsson’s fault entirely

  14. Maybe we should talk again about dismiss blues flags, let them race, no crashing, no angry faces, no crying babys, if anyone wants the position they should win it, also lapping cars.

  15. It should be kinder depressing that next year’s grid will be lacking Alonso and Ocon most likely and Stoffel also very likely but still have Grosbeak and Kami, as well as, very possibly Kvyat filling out the mid-field.

Comments are closed.