Romain Grosjean, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Grosjean deserves more praise for his speed, less criticism for his mistakes – Magnussen

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Kevin Magnussen has paid tribute to his Haas team mate Romain Grosjean, who will miss his final Formula 1 race this weekend due to injury.

Grosjean has been unable to participate in the final two races after suffering burns to his hands in his shocking crash at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Magnussen, who has been his team mate at Haas since 2017, said Grosjean deserved more praise for his speed and less criticism for his driving errors.

“What I experienced with Romain is an incredibly fast driver on one lap,” he said. “Not that he’s not quick in the race, he’s super-quick in the race as well. But especially in one lap he’s something special.

“Having him as a benchmark, especially in qualifying, has really made me a better qualifier. You seriously need to get it right to beat Romain in qualifying. It’s hard to imagine that anyone can be much quicker than him because on his day he’s phenomenal in one lap.

“Formula 1 is funny because I think Romain has made some mistakes in the last few years that have gained a lot of attention and taken away from him some of the credit he should have been given for his abilities in the car.

“My personal feeling is there’s not a lot of people that can be faster than him on one lap.”

Kimi Raikkonen, who drove alongside Grosjean at Lotus in 2012 and 2013, said “he had a lot of speed, when we raced against each other when we were team mates, on one lap” but didn’t always get the best out of himself in races.

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“In the race he could be very good but often in those days he was a bit all over the place too often. But the speed, for sure he had it.”

Grosjean hoped to return to racing at this weekend’s season finale, but the severity of the burns to his left hand in particular have kept him from doing so.

“I think everybody’s happy to see that he got out of the bad situation more or less okay,” said Raikkonen. “I’m sure it would have been much nicer for him to finish his F1 in a different way but that’s how it unfortunately turned out to be. The good thing is he’s okay and that’s the only thing that matters.”

Pietro Fittipaldi will substitute for Grosjean at Haas again this weekend. He said he was grateful for the help Grosjean had given him before making his debut in last week’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

“Obviously I don’t have as much experience as Kevin as racing with Romain, but for sure in testing I could see that in one lap he’s extremely fast.

“I’m happy to call him a friend. Over the year he’s not only been a team mate, he’s a friend of mine and he’s always been super-supportive so I’ve always appreciated that a lot. He’s always been open to me when I go testing or when I came into my first race weekend.

“It’s sad in a way he couldn’t do his last race with the team but I’m very happy he’s healthy and he’s always been a good friend.”

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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...
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...

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20 comments on “Grosjean deserves more praise for his speed, less criticism for his mistakes – Magnussen”

  1. Good to see some drivers who experienced Grosjean as teammates highlight why he deserved his spot in the sport.

  2. The severity of the crash prevented possible comments on the GRO move that preceded it.
    If I remember it correctly, KYV tried to avoid contact as much as he could while keeping control.
    GRO was packed under slowing cars, but he simply crossed half the track.

    1. As callous and uncomfortable as that sounds, there is more truth to it than we would all like to admit.

      If the accident was sufficiently less severe to only warrant a safety car then I am sure a spirited comments thread would have been frequented after the race

  3. Ofcourse he doesn’t.

  4. Grosjean has been marked as a talent and fast driver since his youth karting days. I reckon there are few people that would deny he is fast.

    Grosjean’s problem or character flaw is his less than optimal decision making, especially during high stress split second events.

  5. Even though being a fast driver is part of being a good driver, a fast driver does not equal being a good driver.

    Did Grosjean deserve a shot in F1, a decade ago? Sure, he did, he won both the GP2 and GP2 Asia championships that year, and it certainly seemed he had potential. But does he deserve to keep his seat after the past nine seasons he’s had? I don’t really agree with that. If there had been 30 potential seats, sure, but for a top 20 I don’t think he’d make the cut after 10 seasons and nothing really of note to show for it tbh. I wouldn’t even pick him over Magnussen to keep the Haas seat if Mazepin somehow tries to assault another lady before the season start and they can’t just make it go away with a tweet.

    1. Totally agree and same goes for Vettel

  6. I admit to having feelings about seeing what Roman has gone through. I’ve been hard on him because he hasn’t gotten to his F1 goal of winning a race, Let alone the championship. So many came and left with such promise but only ended up being back markers. Roman is the newest class member unfortunately. But in the midst of facing the burned hands and realizing his own future now, he acted with incredible
    Quality of Character. For that alone I raise him now above many currently with seats. So to Roman I say thanks and wish your life off the pedal be rewarding and worthwhile. Gods speed give him back his model building hands for that hobby is extremely rewarding.

    1. burns on your skin is allways dangerous expecially when it has damaged underlining mussles those can enrupt or tear and those attached to your tump is very important. He made the right decision with this call.

  7. Remember Spa 2012? Alonso was lucky to walk away from that one.

  8. Even if it’s a genuine comment, it comes across as self glorifying. ‘He’s one of the fastest, and I’m beating him’

  9. Very good but a bit all over the place. To be fair, that is an accurate summary. He never really was able to shake off the “first lap nutcase” tag he gained so early on, but equally put in some exceptional performances along the way, particularly in his superb second half of 2013, and the early days of Haas. It wasn’t always for the right reasons, but his stint in F1 was undoubtedly memorable, and it’s a shame that he didn’t get to wrap up his career with some Abu Dhabi donuts.

  10. I think it is important to note that Romain has 10 podiums and won the GP2 championship. He’s had some pretty good seasons early on in his career with Lotus and when Haas first started out. I think that overall he has been a little underrated as a driver but I am quite willing to admit that his performances have become increasingly inconsistent in the last two/three years. I think it would be difficult to justify him keeping his place much longer. Romain has always come across as a decent, pleasant individual though and I think he’s been very popular in the F1 community.

    His career reminds me quite a bit of that other driver who was very quick over one lap, Jarno Trulli. They have a similar number of podiums and have finished is similar places in the championship. Both were never quite good enough in the races though to be considered top level.

  11. big problem was always his character. personality can make you quick, but at what cost. He tried to adapt but in the end he annoyed everyone.

  12. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    10th December 2020, 16:30

    I always remember reading an article on how he applies progressive cornering load to a tyre to achieve exceptional cornering speeds. That’s why Pirelli loved him as a test driver. Which kind of agrees with what Mag is saying here regarding his out and out pace. It’s the errors in judgement that have plagued his career and his ability to mentally capitulate that has been questionable. However I’m glad he’s leaving the sport a hero after the events in Bahrain. A truly nice guy also.

  13. I think the timing and context of this statement make it pretty irrelevant. Kevin and Roman will be ex f1 drivers on Sunday evening. Maybe it could be taken as a nice goodbye gift from his teammate, like a watch from your colleagues when you reach your retirement. I can’t help wondering if he would have made the same statement if HAAS was going to choose between Roman and him for next year…

  14. Come on Kevin, you seriously didn’t mention anything about his humble personality?

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