Lotus's Romain Grosjean sorry for tangling with Jenson Button in Hungarian GP
However driver and team boss feel later drive-through was harsh
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 28/07/13 5:58pm
After his best qualifying performance since last year's race in Budapest on Saturday, Grosjean had been challenging Sebastian Vettel through the first two stints and ran close behind the World Champion for the 12 laps that the Red Bull was stuck behind Button's out-of-sequence McLaren.
Both cars ultimately passed the Briton on the track but Grosjean's move at the chicane was controversial after he banged wheels with the McLaren after moving across too early in the braking zone.
Stewards decided to review the incident after the race - and later handed out a 20-second time penalty which didn't affect the top-ten order - but Grosjean had already admitted that he had misjudged the situation.
"With Jenson I was a bit too much on the left. The track goes narrow uphill and I was wider than that so I want to apologise," he told Sky Sports F1.
"We were fortunate that none of us got anything [damage], so that was good."
However, a bemused Grosjean didn't feel any need to feel contrite over the later incident that did earn him a mid-race drive-through penalty.
Needing to pass Felipe Massa after his second pitstop, Grosjean pulled off what on first inspection appeared a sensational move around the outside of the Ferrari at turn four only for the stewards to rule that he had completed the pass with all four wheels over the white line that defines the circuit.
"On Massa I thought I had at least two wheels on the white line of the track," Grosjean argued. "I tried the outside and I pushed hard. But I haven't seen the footage so far so I need to go a bit more [into it] in details."
Grosjean's team boss Eric Boullier agreed that his driver had been harshly dealt with after the penalty meant the Frenchman dropped out of a potential second successive podium finish to sixth place.
Nonethless, after showing strong form throughout the Hungarian weekend, Boullier was more than happy with his often inconsistent driver's performance and believes it bodes well for the remainder of the season.
"I do feel the same actually because I feel this penalty was a little bit too much," the Lotus chief told Sky Sports F1.
"He had nowhere to go so he was a little bit four wheels off the track, but just a couple of centimetres. Obviously it's very harsh when you get such a penalty to recover when you're fighting for the podium.
"He had high ambition at the beginning of the race but this is the race and I was just telling him that he did a super weekend again. No foot wrong and two in a row now.
"It means he understood what he built up since the beginning of the season and building up over the last year as well now. Clearly now he has the best line to build strong weekends like this and fight with guys like Kimi [Raikkonen], Alonso and Vettel. So that's pretty good."