Romain Grosjean admits he pushed the limits of what is acceptable while defending his position during the British Grand Prix, but actually wants such moves outlawed.
The stewards gave Grosjean a black and white flag – warning him for his driving – for his defense against Carlos Sainz after Haas opted not to pit under an early safety car and climbed to fifth in the first part of the race. Grosjean’s warning was for moving under braking, and a similar incident when being overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo at Brooklands drew an investigation that similarly resulted in a warning.
“I disagree on the fact that they were close,” Grosjean said. “I think in both cases I moved a little bit late, but I always left a car width. So they want to clarify the fact that we cannot move that late, which I agree with, but there were no real rules beforehand and Max Verstappen used it a lot during his racing, so I thought, why can I not take advantage of that?
“It’s not every day we’re running sixth or seventh in a race, and I had to give everything I could to defend. Looking at them, I got a bit caught out by the delta speed in my mirrors – both of my mirrors twisted down at the beginning of the race, so I couldn’t really see much in them. I agree that I moved a little bit late, but I also always left more than a car width.
“So I spoke with Daniel and he was like ‘Yes, it’s a bit marginal, not too bad’, Sainz was complaining a lot on the radio from what I heard, but he could pass… there was a car width, and I’ve got to do my race. If there’s a clarification and we can’t move that late then I’ll take that into account, but to that point I used the limit – yes I agree – but I was trying to defend as hard as I could.”
Grosjean confirmed that he is actually keen to see the stewards define what is a legitimate defensive move and what is illegal, and would preferr that the maneuvers he pulled off be prohibited.
“I think a few years ago we really wanted to put a rule in place that you can’t move under braking, following some of Max’s defending, but there weren’t any rules put in action,” he said. “Therefore I pushed the limit a bit, got a warning, but I don’t regret anything.
“I tried to do the best I can. We tried a different strategy, I gave it 100% from the beginning to the end. I’m proud of my race and if there’s a clarification and we need to move early and so on, then I will of course do so accordingly. But I don’t think there were any clear… Driving dangerously? Yes, but you can argue that I wasn’t driving dangerously because I was always leaving a car’s width, so there was always the room for the other car to go next to me.
“I think a bit of a clarification on that would be nice, but also we don’t want to push ‘let them race’ away from Formula 1 because we want to have fights and be pushing hard.”