September 21st, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - After a difficult Friday, Romain Grosjean's Singapore Grand Prix weekend improved dramatically on Saturday when he took third place in qualifying for Sunday's race. Grosjean is now aiming to finish the race on the podium for Lotus.
Grosjean's first practice session on Friday was spent largely in the Lotus garage, while the team fixed a steering issue that surfaced on his installation lap at the start of the session. Grosjean managed to get out on track late in the session and set a lap time just a fraction slower than Kimi Raikkonen in the other Lotus. That was the last time Raikkonen would be quicker than Grosjean in the run up to the race.
A brake issue then hit at the start of FP2, followed by a hydraulic leak at the end of the session, both of which limited Grosjean's Friday running. Nonetheless, he managed to set the fifth fastest time of the FP2 session.
On Saturday, everything came right for Grosjean. In final practice, he was second fastest, the only driver to come close to matching Sebastian Vettel's blistering pace. And Grosjean carried that form into qualifying, where he was quick enough on the prime medium compound tyre in Q1 to not have to resort to the option tyres to proceed to Q2. The only other drivers to run only the medium tyres in Q1 were Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
In the final part of qualifying, Grosjean set the third fastest time, quicker than Mark Webber's Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. Grosjean will line-up for the Singapore Grand Prix directly behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and crucially on the racing line, which should allow him to make a strong start.
Grosjean said after qualifying: "After all the issues we had yesterday the team did a fantastic job to get the car running well and also to find a good setup despite having done so few laps. The car felt good all day; enough that we were confident in taking a risk during Q1 by not running the option tyres. It was a great strategy call that really paid off, and I think with a little more luck on the out lap we could maybe even have been one place higher. Sebastian [Vettel] looks to have a pretty clear advantage, but we’ve got lots of fresh tyres for tomorrow so a podium is definitely the target."