Romain Grosjean’s popular third place in Spa was the first podium earned by the Frenchman and his Lotus team since the 2013 US GP.
The result also came three years after his infamous first lap crash at Spa.
“I remember Austin,” he said today. “A long time ago, but I still remember I was a bit drunk at the press conference! A little bit too much champagne on the podium with Seb. It has been up and down here for me. Of course Spa 2012 with Lewis was a bit of a tough time, but on the other side it’s helped me because who I am today and being able to be on the podium with how we are during the weekend shows how strong our guys, and how strong we’re capable of building a car and be there. It was a great race, I enjoyed every minute and if we can do it again, let’s go.”
Although he ultimately earned it after Sebastian Vettel had a puncture right in front of him Grosjean had been pushing the German hard in the closing laps.
“I was really closing the gap on Seb,” he explained. “It’s very unfortunate he had that puncture and it was a bit of a scary moment just being behind. I think we got everything we could get today, starting from P4 on the grid I’m sure we would have had a much easier race but it was really good fun. All the overtaking into Turn Five, I was really taking it as hard as I could on brake. Probably one of my best races ever.”
Like several of his rivals Grosjean pitted under the Virtual Safety Car.
“I went through Eau Rouge on that lap and they just told me on the radio ‘safety car window is open’ and I did finish the lap, and ‘safety car’ came up on the steering wheel and we pitted as planned. We needed to fit the prime tyre for the end of the race. I think then I lost a position to Seb, they stayed on the one-stop strategy which was quite aggressive and we didn’t think we’d be able to do it. I knew the safety car window was open, and if the safety car, the virtual safety car, was lasting long enough for me to rejoin the pit or get in the pit before it ended, it was the strategy for me to stop.”
Grosjean said that he didn’t get extra motivation from the situation surrounding Lotus.
“I think, as a racing driver in general, every time we start a race the idea is to try to win it. You know what you have in your hands and you know that sometimes it is not possible but as long as you do everything with 100 per cent of your performance you can fly home in the evening being proud of what you did. That’s what I want to achieve.
“Sometimes there’s been times in the past year where you score one point or two points and it has been an incredible performance, probably you can’t see it on TV because it’s hidden by the fact that the car is not as good – but every time I just in the car it’s to give my best. It’s cost me a little bit in the past but putting things in the right order makes it good today.”
Regarding the next race he said: “I think Monza is a big difference in a way that there are special aero packages for Monza and it’s one race out of 19 where it’s always difficult to know exactly what’s going to be there. I’m sure in term of pole everything is going to be under control. Hopefully is working as well as it is today but I think right now I’m just thinking about having a good drink tonight!”