• Japanese Grand Prix

2012 crash played on Grosjean's mind at start

ESPN Staff
October 13, 2013 « Webber hints at Red Bull strategy error | Hulkenberg philosophical about lost places »
Romain Grosjean: "That start came from nowhere" © Getty Images
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Romain Grosjean said his tangle with Mark Webber at last year's Japanese Grand Prix was playing on his mind as he executed a near-perfect getaway at this year's race.

Grosjean took Webber out with a clumsy move in the second corner last season at Suzuka, but this time round led both Red Bulls and the rest of the field into Turn 1. After receiving intense criticism for his first lap mistakes throughout the last year, Grosjean said it had been a great feeling to lead off the grid in Japan.

"That start came from nowhere," he said. "I dropped the clutch and thought 'woah, woah, woah, I can go for this, come on!' For sure I was a bit stressed on the grid after what happened last year [with Webber] but today was just perfect and on option tyres the car could pull away, it just wasn't good enough on primes.

"Spa and Suzuka were not the easiest starts of the year for me. You do remember the past and I've been working on myself for a year and it's been paying off. It takes a lot of energy, but there are much more things I can do and I feel much better as a driver. It was just the perfect start."

He said he had not imagined being able to fight the Red Bull's head of the race.

"We finished much better than we thought, if you'd looked at our pre-race strategy graph the two Red Bulls were flying away and we were supposed to be fighting with Lewis [Hamilton]," he added. "So seeing a 35- or 36-second gap to fourth place, and we got caught up in the backmarkers quite badly in the last few laps, it's an amazing result."

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