Last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix appeared to signal a return to form for Romain Grosjean. A flawless performance with plenty of on track action- minus any crashes or near misses he became known for in 2012- saw him take his first podium of 2013. So have we now seen the return of Grosjean challenging for podiums in a car which looks capable of winning a championship?
Just over half a year ago I wrote my first ever article for my blog beckycreedf1 about whether Grosjean deserved his ban for causing the first lap crash in Belgium. After the race in Spa the rest of his 2012 season proved turbulent- a mixture of point scoring races (four in the final seven races) and retirements due to accidents and mechanical issues (three).
So when the 2013 season came around many said this was Grosjean’s chance to prove he could be more consistent and produce the podium and race winning results he had hinted at being capable of last season (think Canada 2012).
However 2013 didn’t exactly start as Grosjean expected or wanted. In Australia whilst teammate Kimi Raikkonen dominated the field and finished first, Grosjean could manage just 10th place. By Malaysia things had improved and Grosjean secured a sixth place finish. In China Grosjean had a fairly anonymous race ending up ninth but once again Raikkonen was much further up the field taking another podium with second.
There must be something about the Bahrain circuit for Grosjean. In 2012 he secured his first ever podium for Lotus with a third place finish and in 2013 he replicated that result taking his first podium of the season.
He seems to have shaken off any problems which had remained from last season- a season in which he retired from crashes and accidents six times- and is beginning to relish the task of challenging his teammate.
Grosjean drove a clean and controlled race in Bahrain overtaking Paul di Resta for he final podium place in the closing laps. That is not to say he had a quiet race- there was plenty of close racing and a well executed three stop strategy.
He was heavily criticised for his driving and crash prone nature last season but seems to be going to great lengths to change people’s opinions this year.
However it should be remembered Grosjean did show flashes of brilliance last season producing podiums performances only to end his next race with a retirement after a crash (think Hungary 2012’s third position followed by Belgium’s lap one incident which saw him banned).
This season could end up much the same but Grosjean seems to have grown as a driver over the last couple of races. He knows this year could be make or break and his driving has shown he certainly means business in 2013.