Romain Grosjean delighted to end Lotus's podium drought at Spa
"We're going to celebrate with a lot of champagne!" admits Romain
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 27/08/15 9:30am
An ecstatic Romain Grosjean revealed Lotus's most optimistic pre-race strategy predictions had put them only fifth in the Belgian GP, after the Frenchman returned the team to the podium.
In one of the standout performances of Sunday's Spa race, Grosjean recovered from the five-place penalty which had cost him an impressive fourth place on the grid to come through the top 10 and chase down Sebastian Vettel for the final podium position.
Grosjean had closed to within one second of the Ferrari when Vettel's tyre blew on the Kemmel Straight two laps from home, with the German's immediate retirement handing the Lotus driver third place - his and the team's first rostrum appearance since the 2013 U.S. GP.
With the surprise result achieved amid a period of increasing uncertainty at the Enstone-based team, an understandably delighted Grosjean told Sky Sports F1: "It's unbelievable to be on the podium.
"Qualifying was really good, but we never thought about coming back that high on the standings.
"The very optimistic pre-race strategy was giving us P5 and here we are P3. Thirty-one races without a podium I think, since Austin 2013, and so it's just great to be here. I think we're going to celebrate with a lot of champagne!"
Although Vettel had been tyres which were nearly 30 laps old - wear which Pirelli believe caused the dramatic failure - Grosjean thinks it would still have been tough to overtake the SF15-T had it continued.
And, although he admitted he would have preferred to have overtaken the four-time world champion in a straight fight, he nonetheless welcomed the slice of good fortune.
"It would have been difficult, but not impossible," Grosjean added. "We've kept some really strong performance from the engine for the last two laps.
"I was getting closer and closer. It was a bit of a scary moment having Sebastian blowing up his tyre in front of me - it's not the way you want to get to P3 but sometimes in life things are going your way and that was the case today."
Grosjean had revealed on his arrival at Spa on Thursday that he had spoken to Ferrari about the possibility of becoming Vettel's team-mate in 2016, before the Scuderia decided to extend Kimi Raikkonen's contract.
Asked if it was nice to have reminded the Italian team what he was capable of at Spa, Grosjean replied: "Certainly it's the race that you think 'look what I'm capable of doing', but I know what I can do with the car and when everything is under control I'm really quick. So today was for my guys, for my team, for the work we've done."