Romain Grosjean: 2013 Biggest Surprise of the Year
22 December, 2013
Romain Grosjean very nearly snatched the Grand Prix 247 Driver of the Year for 2013 award…but in the end he fell a tad short. He nevertheless gets our recognition with our Biggest Surprise of the year accolade.
Grosjean was the guy who a year earlier was dubbed the ‘first lap nutcase’ (by a certain Australian ex F1 driver) the guy who triggered some of the hairiest and most dramatic pile-ups in recent memory, the guy whom Lotus nearly did not sign for 2013 because of his on-track shenanigans.
Roll on the new year and it was all change, as Grosjean employed a sports quack to help him up his game and stay out of trouble, which he did with great effect. On sheer pace he was quicker than his highly regarded teammate Kimi Raikkonen but he lacked the race craft of the Iceman early on, The experience gulf between the two is enormous and statistics will show that he had closed the gap by the timi Raikkonen had departed…
Grosjean really came of age when Raikkonen’s move to Ferrari for 2014 was announced. The Frenchman seized the moment and by the end of the season his detractors were far fewer in number; even his colleagues had new found respect him.
Mark Webber was Grosjean’s biggest critic in 2012, but less than a year later the straight talking Aussie was full of praise for the Lotus driver.
“I think it’s very clear that Romain has a very different mental approach to the job at the moment … ,” he said. “He’s driven some quite strong races, putting together the whole weekend which is a sign of a driver starting to get a bit more relaxed and confident. A lot fewer mistakes, not just in races but in practice.”
“You know, we’re not here to blow smoke up his arse but in the end he’s doing a very good job this year and it’s a big step for him…” added Webber.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel was also impressed, “I think Romain did a great job, great performance all weekend [in Japan] I think, great qualifying yesterday again, out qualified Kimi. We know that Kimi is a strong driver. Last year I think Romain made some mistakes but the most important thing is that we learn from these mistakes as drivers so I think he learned a lot of things and gradually he’s improving, so big respect for that.”
Seldom do Formula 1 drivers speak so highly of a rival. It is thus obvious that the ‘nutcase’ has earned the respect of his peers. Take a bow Romain Grosjean for pleasantly surprising us all in 2013!
Subbed by AJN.