Romain Grosjean on Thursday was struggling to put his one-race ban behind him.
The Frenchman duly sat out Monza as his punishment for causing the first corner crash at Spa, and returns to full competitive action this weekend in Singapore. But the past is not letting him be, as his every engagement with the media since Spa 19 days ago had had the FIA ban as the headline topic.
Grosjean thinks it’s a beat-up.
“Most of the other drivers were not very critical of me,” he is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, “even though the consequences of the accident were, of course, very large.”
He is referring to the fact that championship leaders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were taken out.
But he insists: “Even Alonso wasn’t mad at me. In my view he is a great champion.”
Grosjean had less to say about McLaren’s Hamilton, who reportedly ignored the Lotus driver when – although banned – he still attended the drivers’ briefing at Monza. He said he has learned his lesson, even though he thinks the penalty was “very hard”.
So will he be extra careful at the start on Sunday?
“It’s more complex than that,” said Grosjean. “It’s hard to find the right balance and make the right decisions. People forget that this is really my first year in Formula One, and I’m always fighting in the top ten. That’s not as easy as when you start at the back of the field.”