Pitstop dramas, Romain scores points and Pastor retires
Romain Grosjean scored points for the third successive race, as team-mate Pastor Maldonado’s impressive racecraft proved to be in vain after damaged bodywork forced him to retire.
The Venezuelan had already visited the pit with a damaged rear wing early in the race and he left the pitlane with only two of the wing’s supports in place.
Despite the damage, Pastor expertly controlled the E23 Hybrid as he made up several places from 18th on his return to the track.
Despite overcoming the problem with a spirited drive, he was forced to pit and retire the car on lap 45.
“We were having a pretty great race at the start and our strategy was working well but then the damage to my car meant that I had to make an extra stop and my race was completely compromised,” he said.
It was an unfortunate end to the race after such a strong start. Roman and Pastor had started in 11th and 12th respectively, but the duo quickly stormed into the top ten on the opening laps.
Both ran strongly across the opening ten laps, with both taking it in turns to battle for seventh and eighth.
The race soon took a turn for the worse as Pastor pitted on lap 14 with significant time spent on rectifying his damaged wing.
It meant the Venezuelan returned to the track in 18th, but Romain was still running comfortably in the top ten.
The Frenchman was able to battle his way into eighth, despite an issue with fourth gear forcing him to carefully manage his race.
It was a position he was able to comfortably manage, before his final stop on lap 40 turned dramatic.
A slippery pit box, as well as tyre degradation, meant Romain overshot his pitbox. Thankfully, no-one was injured and Romain was able to return to the track with minimal time lost.
“I’m glad to say that no-one was seriously injured in the pit stop,” he said. “The rear tyres were experiencing a lot of degradation and I just couldn’t stop in time. It was a really scary moment for me, but probably more scary for the crew. I checked everyone was okay and I certainly owe them some beers!”
Romain was able to secure eighth position but five laps after his final stop his team-mate Pastor saw his inroads towards the top ten come to an end.
“I lost fourth gear during the race which made things a bit of a challenge,” said Romain. “It was a tough race but it’s good to be in the points for the third race in a row and we can be proud for what we’ve achieved today.”
His team-mate’s consistent points return so far this season had Pastor confident his turn to score would only be a matter of time.
“We have the pace in the car and in every race we have shown the potential to be in the points so it’s only a matter of time before we get a good result; I’m looking forward to Monaco."
Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi felt that despite the challenges, the drivers and the team at Enstone showed their quality once again as all eyes turn to the Monaco Grand Prix.
"Both our drivers put in really strong performances today, with Romain finishing in eighth despite a gearbox issue and Pastor driving relentlessly before we retired him, but the real heroes today were the pit crew,” he said. “Our pit box proved slippery causing Romain to stop long, resulting in three of the crew being slightly worse for wear, but nevertheless they were back in action for the subsequent stops.
“This is another endorsement of Enstone’s never give up spirit and we know the guys will be fighting fit for Monaco.”