Grosjean deserves more praise for his speed, less criticism for his mistakes

by Dec 10, 20200 comments

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Kevin Magnussen has paid tribute to his Haas team mate Romain Grosjean, who will miss his final Formula 1 race this weekend due to injury.

Grosjean has been unable to participate in the final two races after suffering burns to his hands in his shocking crash at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Magnussen, who has been his team mate at Haas since 2017, said Grosjean deserved more praise for his speed and less criticism for his driving errors.

“What I experienced with Romain is an incredibly fast driver on one lap,” he said. “Not that he’s not quick in the race, he’s super-quick in the race as well. But especially in one lap he’s something special.

“Having him as a benchmark, especially in qualifying, has really made me a better qualifier. You seriously need to get it right to beat Romain in qualifying. It’s hard to imagine that anyone can be much quicker than him because on his day he’s phenomenal in one lap.

“Formula 1 is funny because I think Romain has made some mistakes in the last few years that have gained a lot of attention and taken away from him some of the credit he should have been given for his abilities in the car.

“My personal feeling is there’s not a lot of people that can be faster than him on one lap.”

Kimi Raikkonen, who drove alongside Grosjean at Lotus in 2012 and 2013, said “he had a lot of speed, when we raced against each other when we were team mates, on one lap” but didn’t always get the best out of himself in races.

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“In the race he could be very good but often in those days he was a bit all over the place too often. But the speed, for sure he had it.”

Grosjean hoped to return to racing at this weekend’s season finale, but the severity of the burns to his left hand in particular have kept him from doing so.

“I think everybody’s happy to see that he got out of the bad situation more or less okay,” said Raikkonen. “I’m sure it would have been much nicer for him to finish his F1 in a different way but that’s how it unfortunately turned out to be. The good thing is he’s okay and that’s the only thing that matters.”

Pietro Fittipaldi will substitute for Grosjean at Haas again this weekend. He said he was grateful for the help Grosjean had given him before making his debut in last week’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

“Obviously I don’t have as much experience as Kevin as racing with Romain, but for sure in testing I could see that in one lap he’s extremely fast.

“I’m happy to call him a friend. Over the year he’s not only been a team mate, he’s a friend of mine and he’s always been super-supportive so I’ve always appreciated that a lot. He’s always been open to me when I go testing or when I came into my first race weekend.

“It’s sad in a way he couldn’t do his last race with the team but I’m very happy he’s healthy and he’s always been a good friend.”

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