A tyre gamble by Lotus paid dividends for Romain Grosjean when he qualified third in Singapore
Frenchman makes most of supersofts in final session
By Mike Wise in Singapore
Last Updated: 21/09/13 7:55pm
The Frenchman was the only driver apart from Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to stay on the medium tyre in the opening session rather than switch to the faster supersoft.
While the Red Bull pair comfortably made it through to Q2 regardless, Grosjean only squeaked through by about two-tenths of a second. But risk duly reaped its reward as, handed two sets of supersoft tyres for Q3, he proceeded to make the most of them.
Grosjean, who had already hinted at what was to come by finishing second fastest to eventual polesitter Vettel in final practice, said: "We knew we were strong this morning. I think we got a little bit caught by the night coming on and it was a little bit less quick than the fast time we expected in Q1 but nevertheless I think the team did a good decision about the strategy and the cut-off and everything, so then we had two attempts in Q3."
Further evidence of a strong showing came on Friday, when Grosjean was fifth fastest even though problems with the power steering on his E21 caused him to lose track time.
"To be honest, yesterday didn't look too bad on the few laps we did - I think we had ten timed laps, something like that in total in the whole day but we were something like P5 yesterday evening and the lap wasn't great," he said.
"So I knew we had a good baseline to start today and this morning went pretty well. And in qualy we had a good strategy again.
"In Q1 it was tight because I guess the prime tyres were less quick than what we expected but then we had a very good set of tyres for the Q2 and Q3 and we did manage to have good runs.
"I think we could have tried to have a go at Nico (Rosberg, who qualified second) but it was just not quite good for the first few corners."
Grosjean also shrugged off the suggestion that his performance might send a message to Lotus that he is ready to lead the team now Kimi Raikkonen has agreed a move to Ferrari.
"I don't really care," he added. "Relations with Kimi have always been not very 'speaky' and I just do my best on my own. I like the team, I'm sure they're quite happy with the way we work so far and I'll just focus on what I have to do and then we'll see for the future."
Raikkonen himself left the track immediately after the session, in which he qualified 13th having suffered the recurrence of a long-term back injury.