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Romain Grosjean set for 100th GP

  • Published on 19 Oct 2016 11:06
  • comments 0
  • By: Dominik Wilde

Romain Grosjean will make his 100th Grand Prix start at the United States Grand Prix this weekend.

Grosjean's 100th entry was in fact at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago, but his non-start at Singapore last month meant that he has had to wait for his century of race starts.

The Franco-Swiss driver was handed his Formula One début at the 2009 European Grand Prix in Valencia for Renault after spending a year as one of the team's test drivers. However, despite being highly-rated, a disappointing seven-race spell at the Anglo-French team saw him dropped at the end of the year and replaced by Vitaly Petrov as the team was taken over by Genii capital.

Two seasons racing sports cars, testing tyres for Pirelli, and competing in AutoGP and GP2 - where he won the 2011 title - followed, before he returned to F1 with the same Enstone-based team he raced for in 2009, albeit renamed Lotus.

Grosjean had a rocky first year back, being involved with a number of opening lap incidents which led to him being branded a 'first lap nutcase' by Mark Webber; he was even forced to sit out of the Italian Grand Prix that year after causing a major incident at the start for the preceding race in Belgium. Nevertheless, he was able to claim three podiums in 2012, on his way to taking eighth in the championship.

2013 saw a more mature and rounded Romain Grosjean take to the track. Six podiums (including three consecutively at the tail end of the season) and a near-win in Korea highlighted a breakout year for the driver, who finished a career-best seventh place in the standings.

Lotus began to struggle when the 1.6 litre turbo V6 formula was introduced in 2014, and despite ditching Renault engines for Mercedes in 2015, the team never challenged for victories - a third place for Grosjean at the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix being a clear highlight. Despite this, he was able to outperform team mate Pastor Maldonado in both 2014 and 2015.

Uncertainty surrounding Lotus and the then-proposed takeover by Renault left Grosjean looking at other options and he decided to move to newcomers Haas for this year.

While many saw it as career suicide, the 30-year-old proved it was an inspired decision by steering the Ferrari customer team to sixth place on their maiden outing in Melbourne. A remarkable fifth place at the second round in Bahrain, plus two more points finishes in Russia and Austria came later, although Haas has failed to register any points since the July race at the Red Bull Ring.

In 99 starts, Grosjean has taken 10 podiums, 315 points, and a single fastest lap. 10 drivers on the current grid have more starts to their name.

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