Sergey Sirotkin, Romain Grosjean, Singapore, 2018

Grosjean: Penalty points for Hamilton incident was “harsh”

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean says his penalty for delaying Lewis Hamilton while being lapped in the Singapore Grand Prix was “harsh”, as it leaves him at risk of a race ban.

The Haas driver was given two penalty points for failing to let Hamilton by, moving him onto a total of nine. Drivers receive automatic one-race bans if they reach 12 points.

Grosjean said he had “no intention to block anyone”, though the incident cost race leader Hamilton several seconds and allowed Max Verstappen to catch up and attempt to overtake.

“We don’t have any lights in the car so the mirrors in the dark, they are dark,” Grosjean added. “It didn’t change anything for the race: Lewis won, Max was second. That’s the main thing.

“It’s not great it’s not ideal. We were fighting on our side, they were fighting on their side. Apparently it was the most exciting part of the race so you’re welcome!”

However Grosjean admitted he was given blue flags in 11 mini-sectors on the lap before letting Hamilton by. He said he was caught out because he lost so much time trying to pass Sergey Sirotkin after his pit stop.

“In Singapore it was a tricky situation I got caught in,” said Grosjean. “Sergey was six seconds slower than everyone, I couldn’t know at the time.

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Romain Grosjean, Haas, Singapore, 2018
“What did they want me to do, to stop racing?”
“We were fighting and obviously the gap was big. I think it was 11 mini-sectors before I let Lewis by, it cost a lot of time, but it was just the pace we were doing. So I think getting points there was harsh.”

Grosjean will not have any points deducted from his licence for three races. He said the risk of a ban will be on his mind this weekend.

“I’m here to race, I’m here to get Haas fourth position in the constructors’ championships so I’m just going to do my best for the team and try to avoid anything silly,” he said.

The penalty points system came into force after Grosjean was given a one-race began for causing a crash at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2012. “Apparently I had four incidents that [were] three points in 2012,” he said. “I can’t recall three of them!”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said Grosjean will have to be “very careful” in the coming races.

“I think he knows that he’s getting close. We are on thin ice at the moment I would say with that one, and for a few races as well. I think the first [point] is going away in Mexico.”

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37 comments on “Grosjean: Penalty points for Hamilton incident was “harsh””

  1. It didn’t change anything for the race: Lewis won, Max was second. That’s the main thing.

    That’s where the phrase ‘no thanks to say’ applies.
    Grosjean shouldn’t even be in Formula 1. He’s a ridiculous driver. The mayhem he caused in Spain, wheel spinning back onto a track at the race start in the middle of the pack was up there with his scuttling across track at Spa 2012 to clobber Hamilton and then fly over the top of Alonso.

    1. *you, even not ‘say’

    2. The point is he could have affected the race and even the championship. This is Haas whom i recall started their Farrari partnership with gift when their cars broke down on track to benifit Ferrari. Of course it was dismissed at the time, but who’s to say they wont figure again, if given half a chance.

      This decission now, says dont even think about it.

      1. Good point.

      2. @Ajaxn Garbage

    3. It’s a fair point though. Most of F1’s penalties are based on the consequences of the action… Hit someone and cause no damage – usually a racing incident. Hit someone and give them a puncture – usually a penalty. Cut a corner and gain time – ok. Cut a corner and gain less time but overtake someone – penalty….

      1. @petebaldwin My point was more that he should have got a race ban this season anyway for this insanely dangerous bit of driving. He also has no excuse for cutting a lead car’s advantage by 5 seconds and almost losing Hamilton the lead in a tight championship battle because he can’t process basic information everyone else seems fine with. Whiting’s comment that it was one of the worsr examples of ignoring blue flags he’d seen explain why they got heavy on him for this particular instance.

        1. @david-br
          Gro has eye sight issues with his peripheral vision i think, he has these kind of issues often, and he is not aware of his surroundings, SPA crash if you watch it, he just goes left or right regardless of mirrors, he says mirrors are dark but he is not using them at all! thats his problem… he is almost a distracted driver i can say

  2. Romoan Grosjean.

    The whole purpose of the accrual of penalty points to eventually result in a race ban is to ensure that such a severe punishment is meted out to only those drivers who’ve consistently broken driving standards – across multiple incidents, races (and penalty points awarded by various stewards).

    The fact that no driver has actually served a ban till date just shows to go that the bar is set either right, or quite high.

    In all, this seems to be doing exactly the job it’s meant to do. Grosjean will be more cautious in the next few races until the first few of his points expire to bring him back to a safer level.

    (Oh, and even if he couldn’t see the car in the mirrors, the team were warning him over the radio. A mistake like keeping his radio on ‘Transmit’ which prevents the reception of pitwall communications is a driver error, and there’s nothing wrong in it being punished. He needs to cut down his driver errors as well, after Spain, and Baku).

    1. Your spot on.
      You cannot cure stupid.

    2. @phylyp Exactly as I was going to point out too. The system works if his points tally means he will have to be more cautious now.

    3. Quite right; it’s the totality of his misdemeanours that bring hime closer to a ban and not the last incident

    4. I don’t think keeping his radio on ‘Transmit’ was a mistake.

  3. “We don’t have any lights in the car so the mirrors in the dark, they are dark,”

    However Grosjean admitted he was given blue flags in 11 mini-sectors on the lap before letting Hamilton by.

    That’s it Romain, the blue flags are not in your mirrors, they are in front of you.

    1. It should also mean the blue light on his cockpit display should have stood out in the darkness

      1. Yes, I even forgot about that, incredible.

        1. He mistook those for ambient mood lighting. Like what you see in the footwell of some cars (and the underbodys of boy racers, he sure drives like one!)

          1. He has an endless list of excuses, hasn’t he?
            It was dark. lol. it took him 6 races to see that?

  4. “It didn’t change anything for the race: Lewis won, Max was second. That’s the main thing.”
    – I can only imagine the outrage had the unnecessary delay in yielding to the leading-drivers led to Hamilton losing the lead, and subsequently, most likely the race win as well through no fault of his own, LOL.

    1. True and I’m reminded though of Max’s take on the situation after the race, when he implied that he was not likely going to have much of a go at Hamilton anyway, as he is not in the race for the WDC whereas of course LH is. I thought that was really classy and mature of Max. But as you say, can you imagine if Max had taken what has been at times for him a no-brainer, just-go-for-it type of approach as he has done at other times, and had tangled with LH? Oh my…

      1. he implied that he was not likely going to have much of a go at Hamilton anyway, as he is not in the race for the WDC whereas of course LH is.

        Really? Where did he say that? Such an unMax thing to say.
        In fact, reading this seems to me he would if he could

        1. Saying he wouldnt be able to do anything, and doing anything, is different thing… if by any chance other driver gave way, and hamilton was blocked allowing max to dive inside in the wrong corner, i m sure max would love that… if he received the opportunity, he wouldnt be so gentleman talking about it… and There would be a big talk about HAAS helping Ferrari controversy after that!

          1. @mysticus If you want to talk about one team helping another, let’s talk about about STR helping RBR. Acting as a test mule instead of competing as all teams should. Now, they’ve gone so far as to announce that Honda will be running a variety of experimental engines for the remainder of the season.

          2. STR is redbull owned… nothing controversial there unless you have seen STR blocking a rival team to help RB, that would be different story… But you are talking about development stage instead of driving style causing a WDC contender loosing points unnecessarily here…

            What i said is
            HAAS is not Ferrari owned but ferrari helped them massively unlike any other customer team received in the past and the gro move can be easily seen as a way for payback and controversial — if we didnt know Gro’s driving style… Gro is just a careless driver and makes these kind of mistakes a lot…

  5. This issue should be evidence that the blue flag system needs to be reconsidered. How is any on-track battle less important than another? I’d argue that even 1 point for a backmarker is just as important as 25 points for a race winner in the scope of the championship.

    1. The system exists to prevent abuse by drivers of some teams holding up a particular driver trying to lap and not another. Seems the best solution and it isn’t really an issue unless drivers like Grosjean deliberately make it so.

      1. Right. While in theory I don’t really mind the concept of no blue flags, and drivers having to actually pass backmarkers, do we really want to see Championships decided by the possibility of a back marker tangling with a WDC potential driver? Is that ‘show’ worth a WDC contender potentially losing 25 points? Potentially changing the season from coming down to the last race, to being an anti-climactic yawn?

        No, especially with passing as hard as it is in dirty air, blue flags do make sense. Also, I would like to think that even if there was no blue flag rule, many back markers would see it as a no-brainer to get out of the way, and choose their battles more wisely.

    2. In a perfect world, I’d like to see blue flags go away, the same as you. If you’re fast enough to lap a car, you’re fast enough to overtake it.

      F1 is not a perfect world. Far from it, in fact.

      Between aero and tyre issues that prevent close tailing and easy overtaking, and including top/rich teams who have ties with teams lower down the grid more likely to be lapped, there’s little reason to keep an open playing field, and to instead use blue flags to ensure no shenanigans are performed.

      I am very sympathetic – as are you – to the teams lower down the grid who are scrabbling for that crucial point or two that might influence championship standings (as opposed to the top teams who often end up with large point gaps). To this effect, I had suggested some days ago that blue flags be applied to a block of cars that are within a certain time of one another.

      This way, if Hamilton comes to lap Sirotkin, Sirotkin gets blue flags per the current rules. However, any other car on Sirotkin’s lap who is within a specific limit (say 3 seconds) ahead of Sirotkin will also receive the same blue flag. I believe this should ensure that a block of competing backmarkers all get blue flagged at the same time, minimizing the impact of letting a car through. It is not a perfect solution, since such a train of blue-flagged cars is still subject to the vagaries and nature of a track (e.g. letting Hamilton pass on a tight corner might be more detrimental than letting him shoot past on a straight that follows said corner), but I believe it should be an improvement over the current system, and prevent canny drivers exploiting the fairness of those who respect blue flags.

    3. @The Dolphins Well said.

  6. A race circuit compresses 300 or more kilometers into a3 to 5 kilometers track. All for easy race management and fan enjoyment. So if you are a minute ahead of a driver, how can that driver impede you? Blue flags are there for a reason.

    1. Good point, I never thought of it that way.

  7. I can’t believe Ocon is being left without a drive while this bloke is still there.

    1. Grosjean is out of a contract right?

      1. His contract ends this year, and there’s no guarantee he will be re-signed.

        1. haas just did!

  8. 2 Penalty points are standard when given a 5s time penalty, so I don’t see any unfair or harsh punishment here.

    It’s just that Grosjean is involved in too many incidents and not for the first time.

  9. Ocon is looking for a seat. Maybe Romain, could let him take his ride. Romain is frazzled, and needs to take a long break. Maybe 1 season break would be good. Give Ocon a chance.

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