In the wake of a season which saw him banned for one race after causing a first corner crash which almost cost Fernando Alonso his life, Romain Grosjean famously sought the services of a sports psychologist.
It worked, for on his return to the F1 grid, for the most part the Frenchman was a changed man. However, this season has witnessed a few incidents which suggested a return to the ‘old ways’, though of late he seemed to have settled down a little.
However, his failure to heed the blue flags during yesterday’s Singapore Grand Prix as he battled with Sergey Sirotkin, caused a major headache for Lewis Hamilton who was seeking to lap the pair, at one stage Max Verstappen almost taking the lead from the Briton as the battling Haas and Williams drivers ignored the numerous blue flags shown at them.
“Romain just completely forgot the golden rule of blue flags,” said Charlie Whiting after the race. “If you’re in a battle you’ve got to forget about your own battle and move over.
“I think he completely forgot about it,” he added. “It was probably one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time.”
The stewards agreed and determined that Grosjean had “ignored blue flags, which were shown for a significant number of corners”, subsequently handing the Frenchman a 5 second time penalty and 2 penalty points, bringing his total for the 12 month period up to 9. With drivers facing an automatic one race ban on reaching 12 points, the Haas driver is on a final warning.
“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” said the Haas driver. “I believe I did my best. I was fighting with Sergey, who was playing a little bit of go-kart racing out there. I couldn’t really slow down. Pierre was on my gearbox and Sergey was on my front wing. So I passed him, then as soon as I passed him, I let Lewis by.”
The Frenchman’s 12-month period ends after the Mexican Grand Prix, meaning he must keep his nose clean in that event, and the Russian and Japanese rounds that precede it.