Romain Grosjean says he was forced to drive “like a grandma” by unfair qualifying rules at the Singapore Grand Prix. Formula 1’s regulations that state drivers in the top 10 of qualifying must start on a set tyre compound ultimately cost Grosjean any chance of a points finish at Marina Bay.
Grosjean qualified eighth in Singapore, but the Haas man came home 15th after a struggle to make the hypersoft tyres last after being forced to start the race on them, having set his fastest Q2 time on them.
Sergio Perez dropped to 16th at the flag from seventh on the grid, while Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr moved from 11th and 12th respectively on the grid to seventh and eighth, as they chose ultrasoft tyres, which lasted much longer on the opening stint.
Grosjean even suggested that deliberate underperformance in qualifying this week in Russia could ultimately be the only way to combat the disadvantage.
Grosjean said of the qualifying rules: “It’s definitely not [fair]. If here it’s the same situation we are not going to try to make it into Q3.
“I don’t think that’s great for F1, for the show and for ourselves neither, just thinking ‘oh I don’t want to make it into Q3’.
“It’s really a big disadvantage, what’s the point of making qualifying then?
“It was a rubbish situation to be qualifying between seventh and tenth, and have to start on the Hypersofts, which is a bit sad that knowing that the P13 had an advantage over P7 on the grid.
“So I took it very, very slowly initially in the race, drove like a grandma, trying to take care of the tyres. Five laps after the Safety Car or so, they just went so we had to pit and eventually I ended up in traffic.
“I think the pace was there but it was just that we had to start on the hyper and that was a massive disadvantage over the people starting from 11th to 15th, 17th, 18th.”
In Singapore, the Frenchman racked up a total of 9 penalty points. If he earns three more, he will cop a race ban. Ironically, Grosjean was the last driver to get a race ban before the penalty point system was in place.