• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Grosjean encouraged by qualifying performance

ESPN Staff
October 6, 2012 « Alonso confident in Ferrari race pace | Vettel reprimanded for blocking Alonso »
Romain Grosjean believes the Lotus E20 is getting stronger as the track improves © Sutton Images
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Romain Grosjean is confident he can have a good race in the Japanese Grand Prix after exceeding expectations in qualifying.

Lotus expected that the best position it could hope for was sixth on the grid, but Grosjean managed to qualify in fifth place and will start from fourth after Jenson Button takes a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Having had an encouraging long run during Friday practice, Grosjean believes he may be able to stay close to the Red Bulls and says his car is getting better as the weekend goes on.

"I think we could have been ahead of Kobayashi," Grosjean said. "The lap was not the best one ever but in general compared to yesterday we were thinking sixth would be the best and we're fifth, so we're one step ahead of what we were thinking would be the best.

"[Long run pace] looked pretty interesting yesterday, pretty good to be honest. I followed the Red Bull and we were more or less the same speed. So that's a good point and if we have a good start tomorrow then I'll try to follow them and see what we can do. I think they're a bit too quick for us even on a long run but you never know what can happen with the track improving as we know that our weaknesses are going away with the track improving, so that's usually a good point for us."

When asked if tyre wear could be a crucial factor in the race, Grosjean admitted some teams had already experienced a few issues.

"It can be; we know here that tyre energy is very high and you need to be careful how you use them and we have seen a few blisters on some tyres and stuff like that. So hopefully tomorrow we are not too concerned by that and it doesn't affect us too much."