November 3rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Romain Grosjean continued his impressive run of form by finishing fourth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. After the race, Grosjean felt he could have challenged for the podium had he not lost time in the middle stint of the race while fighting in traffic.
After a strong start, in which Grosjean went from sixth on the grid to fourth by the exit of the first corner, he ran strongly until a fairly early first pit stop put him back into the pack and Grosjean ended up stuck behind Adrian Sutil's Force India for quite a while. Although he had the pace to pass Sutil in the first DRS zone, Sutil was able to pass him back in the second DRS zone, leading to something of a stale-mate.
By the time Grosjean was clear of Sutil, he had lost a lot of time to the top three in the race, and although he was only just over a second behind third-placed Nico Rosberg at the chequered flag, his pace suggested that he could have done even better had he not lost time battling with the Force India.
Grosjean said after the race:
“That was a pretty long race. I got a good start and made up two places in the first few corners, but after that I lost a lot of time behind the Force India. I could overtake him with the DRS, but he had much better top speed and could just drive straight back past at the next straight.
"That middle stint cost us the chance of a podium in the end, and on pace we could maybe even have pushed Mark [Webber] for second place, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s a shame we couldn’t make it four podiums in a row, but to come away with fourth place after a difficult couple of days is a decent result.”
In the other Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen's race came to an end almost as soon as it had begun. He started last after being excluded from qualifying due to a technical infringement, and made a late move to pass Giedo van der Garde's Caterham into the first corner. Raikkonen's right-front wheel touched Van der Garde's left-rear tyre wheel and the contact was enough to break the right-front track rod on the Lotus, which meant Raikkonen had no steering in his car and was forced into retirement immediately.
Raikkonen explained his extremely short race: “There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse.
"It’s never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane. After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.”