Romain Grosjean employed a one-stop strategy for the 71-lap race around the 4.326-kilometer (2.688-mile) nine-turn circuit. After starting 13th on a set of Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires, Grosjean went 27 laps before pitting for a slightly used set of P Zero Yellow softs. Grosjean took advantage of the safety car period, which was for Sebastian Vettel’s frontstretch crash. The Ferrari driver lost control while leading when his right-rear tire disintegrated, throwing rubber all over the track.
The French driver emerged from the pits in ninth, but his time on pit road was a little too quick. Grosjean was caught speeding and he was assessed a five-second penalty that would be applied at the end of the race.
With the safety car period over, racing resumed in earnest on lap 32, where upon Grosjean’s mirrors were filled with the Williams of Felipe Massa and the Force India of Sergio Perez. Romain Grosjean held them both off and worked on creating a gap greater than five seconds over his nearest pursuer.
Aided by the attrition of others, Grosjean rose to seventh, and as the laps wound down, he methodically widened the gap between himself and eighth-place Perez. Shortly after creating a margin of more than five seconds over Perez, the Force India driver made the situation moot by crashing on the final lap.
With the time penalty applied at the finish, Grosjean’s advantage over eighth-place Carlos Sainz Jr. was 2.732 seconds. Seventh place was all Grosjean’s, as were the six points that now have him 10th in the driver standings.
“It was a pretty good race.” Romain Grosjean said. “The first lap was not great. I was pushed out by another car and I lost quite a few positions. After that we stayed out on the supersofts, even though the tires were going away. I managed to pick up some pace and run well. The safety car came when we had planned our stop, so that helped a little bit. After that I was behind (Jensen) Button. I was trying to chase him and overtake him, but it was just too hard to follow another car and then be able to pass. The last few laps, I learned I had a five-second penalty, so I had to open the gap to the car behind. I really pushed it to one hundred percent every single lap, which was quite fun, but stressful as well. I didn’t want to go out. In the end it was Perez that went out, so it was all good for me.”
Laps completed: 71/71
Started 13th, Finished 7th