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French failure: No glory to celebrate Prost

2014-07-26 08:00

MEMORY LAPSE: Romain Grosjean in the pits during practice for the 2014 German F1 GP. He and fellow Frenchmen Jean-Eric Vergne and Julies Bianchi did little in Hungary to honour Alain Prost. Image: AFP / Patrik Stollarz

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Romain Grosjean and his two fellow-Frenchmen did little on Friday (July 25 2014) to mark the 21st anniversary of Alain Prost's 51st and final F1 victory in Formula 1.

Instead, on a day of searing heat at the Hungaroring, Grosjean, Jean-Eric Vergne and Jules Bianchi wound up respectively 17th, 12th and 20th in their Lotus, Toro Rosso and Marussia cars in opening practice for the Hungarian F1 GP.

The days was particularly disappointing for Heidfeld who continued to struggle for form in a downbeat season - a long way from the glory days of French 'Professor' Prost whose 51st win was a record at that time.

ONLY TWO WINNERS

His victory, at the German GP on July 25, 1993, came in his final season, his only one with Williams where he was partnered with then young Briton Damon Hill. Prost went on to win the title, his fourth, that year before he retired and was replaced by Brazilian Ayrton Senna.

He took the title on a hot September afternoon at the Portuguese GP in Estoril. Since then only two French drivers have won an F1 race - Jean Alesi (Canada, 1995) and Olivier Panis (Monaco, 1996). Since then, for 18 years, France, the country that started the sport, has endured a long barren spell.

Grosjean threatened to end it with his Lotus but despite nine appearances on the podium - including two North American second places (Canada 2012, US 2013) he has suffered more frustration with a lacklustre car this season.

A glum face on Friday betrayed more disappointment. "The car feels pretty reasonable here even if we missed a lot of

the afternoon session because of a problem with the cooling system," he said. "It's a circuit I love so it was frustrating to miss track time - it's what you want to improve the car.
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