Ahead of his landmark 150th Formula 1 career start at the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend, Romain Grosjean picks out his five favorite races.
Australian GP 2016 (Haas F1 Team) – Finished P6
It was my first race with Haas, and their first in Formula 1. It was a new qualifying system and we didn’t get it right, so we started the race in 19th and 20th.
I saw Gene Haas at breakfast on the Sunday morning and he said: ‘Oh Romain, you looked relaxed.’ I told him I’m always relaxed on a morning and then the pressure starts to build up. He said just to get through the first few laps and see how we’d get on in the race.
We went into the race not expecting much and eventually the safety car came out. The team told me to stay out and then there was a red flag. At that point, we could change the tires in the pit lane and I didn’t realise then how high up we were in the standings.
We went out for the second half of the race on the new tires and no-one overtook me during that time. I crossed the finish line knowing we’d had a good result and was then told we had finished P6 on our first race, which was pretty amazing.
Austria 2018 (Haas F1 Team) – Finished P4
Austria last year was my best result so far with Haas. We were very good in qualifying, and beat one of the Red Bulls which was a good achievement. Early in the race the Red Bull passed me, but I was still happy being best of the rest.
I went past one retirement, and then a few more cars retired and before we knew it, we were P4. The rear tires had big blisters, and because the start of last year I hadn’t had much luck, I was like let’s finish it and hope the tires stay ok.
The tires just held on and I finished fourth, with Kevin in fifth, so that was a great result for the team.
US 2013 (Lotus F1) – Finished P2
I was a bit sick all weekend; I had a really bad cold but I had managed to qualify third which was good. I went into the race and had a really good start and managed to overtake Mark Webber in the Red Bull.
Webber was within a second of my rear wing for pretty much the whole race but I used the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) which we had on the cars at the time, to make sure he couldn’t overtake me.
I finished second which was a very good result for us.
Belgium 2015 (Lotus F1) – Finished P3
I qualified fourth, which was amazing, but because Lotus was struggling financially at the time, we only had one gearbox, which I had to use on Friday and Saturday, but it broke on the Friday. We had to change the system so started with a five-place grid penalty.
I remember an interview on the grid where they said it was a shame after such a good qualifying session, that I had the penalty. I said, the car is fast and I am fast, so it’s not a big deal having the penalty, especially at a place like Spa.
I started the race really quickly and settled into fourth position after a couple of good overtakes on the Williams and Red Bull. I was chasing Sebastian Vettel who was on a one-stop strategy and I caught him up very nicely and in the last few laps, his rear tire blew off.
I inherited third from him and finished on the podium, and that was my most recent podium finish in F1. Nico Rosberg said to me before the podium that he was impressed that we managed third with the car!
With the financial problems the team was going through at the time, including bailiffs in the garage, to finish third was out of the blue and it was a good boost for the team.
Japan 2013 – Finished P3 (Lotus F1)
I qualified fourth on the grid and after an outstanding start, led the race for 30 or so laps. I thought that was going to be the day I took my first Formula 1 win.
Red Bull went for three stops and we took the wrong tire strategy on our two-stop. We should have gone option (soft tire), option, hard but instead we went option, hard, hard. As we had qualified on that set of hards in Q1, they were not so good.
Red Bull had better race pace but with a better race plan, we could have kept them behind, but they just passed me. Sebastian Vettel on his two-stop and Mark Webber on his three stops. I took third but was so far ahead of P4.