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Grosjean: 'I made a mistake'

2012-09-03 14:37

EXCUSE ME ALONSO, I'M COMING THROUGH!: Romain Grosjean nearly crushes Ferrari's Fernando Alonso as he takes his Lotus airborne during a first lap crash in Belgium.

Gordon Howard

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS - Lotus team chief Eric Boullier hopes his errant driver Romain Grosjean has learne from his errors this season after being handed a one-race ban and a R529 439 Belgian Grand Prix.

After all, he's only been involved in first lap-crashes in seven of the 12 races so far in 2012.

Boullier believed Grosjean's punishment for triggering an opening lap pile-up that eliminated four cars was "severe" but added that if the penalty helped him improve in the future it was a good thing.

The crash started an otherwise spectacular race won by McLaren's Jenson Button who kept alive his own slim championship hopes with a great drive from pole to flag. He's now sixth in the title race with 101 points, trailing leader Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 63.

Defending champion Sebastian Vettel, second in Belguim, is second with 140 points ahead of Red Bull team mate Mark Webber on 132, Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen on 131 and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on 117.

Grosjean, will miss the Italian GP after being the first driver to receive a ban since McLaren's Mika Hakkinen at the 1994 German GP.


Asked if he will learn from his experiences, Bouillier said: "I can only say yes, I hope so. Obviously the penalty is done to make people understand what they did. So the penalty can help him learn to do better in the future and I am happy about that."

His over-aggressive change of direction at the start of the race saw Grosjean swerve right and into Hamilton, forcing his car into a multiple collision involving Alonso and the Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi. Kobayashi, after repairs, was the only driver who could continue, while Alonso, dazed and suffering back pains, climbed out after narrowly avoiding serious head injuries when Grosjean's Lotus flew over his Ferrari.

The race stewards declared Grosjean's involvement to represent a "serious" breach of the regulations. It was the seventh time in 12 races this season that he has been involved in an opening lap collision. He has had incidents in Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Monaco, Britain and Germany.

Boullier said: "He was not responsible for seven incidents, he was involved in seven incidents, which is different, but being in the wrong place is not good and that means we have to keep working and talking, which is more talking I think, about the reason why he is in the wrong place.

"Boullier added that he was undecided about whether Grosjean should go to Monza but said: "He's part of the team, he should be there and that's it."


Grosjean said: "When you love racing this is very hard. I accept my mistake. We know that La Source is a very tough corner. It was a bit of a crazy start as well with Maldonado leaving the grid so early and the Sauber of Kobayashi smoking a lot.

"I made a mistake and I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I was sure I was in front of him. So a small mistake made a big incident. I didn't change my line, I went from left to right. I was not really wanting to put anyone in the wall - I'm not here to stop the race in the first corner.

"I'm very, very sorry and I'm glad that nobody is hurt. But I have to say it is a very, very hard decision to hear."

He added that he had been involved in too many incidents.


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