- Indian Grand Prix - Qualifying
Tyres caught me out - Grosjean
Romain Grosjean admitted Lotus was caught out by changing conditions during qualifying at the Indian Grand Prix after he failed at the first hurdle and dropped out in Q1.
Grosjean will start from 17th in India on Sunday and was 0.4s off a place in Q2 after he attempted to make it through to the second knock-out stage on medium tyres. The plan was to challenge for pole position by saving two sets of fresh soft tyres for Q3 by not using them in Q1, but it backfired and leaves the Lotus driver well out of position for the race.
He said everybody else improved on the soft tyres by a significant margin and his time was not good enough after he hit traffic.
"The prime tyres didn't work in the afternoon and Sebastian Vettel's lap [on mediums in Q1] was only 0.6s quicker than my lap, which is the time difference we have seen so far [between Lotus and Red Bull]," he said. "I got traffic in the last corner and lost something like a tenth or a tenth and a half and the car became quite difficult to drive. Probably if we did a 1:26.5 then a 1:26.1 was possible, but my lap was not good enough to go through to Q2.
"Everyone planned a cut off of 1:26.5, which was the lap time we did, but for some reason the option tyre was much better than in the morning and the delta time [between the compounds] was supposed to be 0.5s or 0.6s and I think it was something closer to a second. That explains this misjudgement and I was a part of the decision with the team."
Grosjean believes his car is quick in India but said his set-up sacrifices straight-line speed for cornering speed, which could make overtaking tricky.
"Straight-line speed is very bad again, which is why qualifying is often our strength but the race is not," he said. "When we qualify at the front it is not a problem, but tomorrow it's not the perfect thing to have. But if we do manage to get some good lap times and free air then a better performing car will be the best thing to gain some time and gain some places.
"The long runs were very good. I was slower than the Red Bulls but quicker than the rest of the field, so after yesterday I was in a sort of no-man's land with the two Red Bull's flying away and then me and then the rest. Clearly we will have to push tomorrow."