July 28th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Romain Grosjean has been handed a 20-second penalty after the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix for causing a collision with Jenson Button during the race. The penalty has no effect on the result, as Grosjean was more than 20 seconds ahead of the next car, driven by the very same Jenson Button. Grosjean therefore keeps his sixth place.
On lap 25, Grosjean passed Button on the inside into the turn 6 chicane, but did not leave enough room for Button on the outside in the braking zone. Button was forced wide and touched the grass on the outside of the track, while the left side of Grosjean's car made contact with the right side of Button's car. Neither car was damaged in the incident, which was fortunate, but it could have resulted in a serious accident as Formula One cars are not suited to braking with a wheel on the grass.
Button was critical of Grosjean after the race, placing blame squarely at the feet of the Frenchman: "I don't know what he was thinking. I don't think he was thinking at that point..."
Grosjean accepted the blame for the incident with Button without complaint, saying after the race, "I’ve no problem with the time-added for the incident with Jenson and I apologised to him afterwards."
During the race, Grosjean received a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits when passing Felipe Massa around the outside of turn 4. It looked like a stunning passing move, but the stewards deemed it illegal as Grosjean had put all four wheels outside the white line that marks the track limits on the exit of the corner. Grosjean was indignant when he was told to serve the penalty by his team, asking "What for?" on the pit radio.
From the available camera footage, it looked like the move was done before Grosjean left the track, and it also looked like a collision with Massa was inevitable if he tried to avoid running wide on the exit of the corner. Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier was very unhappy with the penalty, and said after the race: "He made a great move at a circuit where overtaking is difficult and he had no room to do anything else. For us the Stewards’ decision was harsh."
After the race, Grosjean refused to be drawn on the drive-through penalty, simply saying: " I haven’t seen the footage yet and I thought it was a good move, but unfortunately the stewards took a different view.
After a strong qualifying performance, Grosjean was looking at the possibiltiy of challenging for a podium or even victory at the Hungaroring, but that all fell apart when he was handed the drive-through penalty. There were also strategic issues that hurt his performance - Grosjean came out of the pits in traffic after his first stop, which cost him a great deal of time, and his second stop seemed quite early. But these are all lessons on the way to fighting for victories in the future. Grosjean said after the race: "This could have been the one for me, but we will just have to wait a little bit longer and keep improving like we have been recently to make it happen."