Romain Grosjean pulled off two late overtakes to grab ninth at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for a fitting Enstone farewell, and in the process secure sixth in the Constructors’ standings after Pastor was forced to retire.
Initially handed the setback of a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox replacement, eventually starting in 18th, the Frenchman pulled off an impressive 24 lap first stint to haul himself into points contention.
While tyre management proved key, the Frenchman was also able to battle at the front and ran as high as fifth at one point.
After his first stop, Romain returned to the track in 12th as darkness fell and temperatures cooled.
He quickly turned up the heat on the top ten contenders, flying past Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda with ease and continuing his ascent up the order.
The man on a mission took one final stop late on, switching to super-softs with the aim of using the advantage to make up places in the final few laps.
“It was a tough race but we knew with the right strategy we could do something good and the last stint was key.”
A move past Carlos Sainz Jr on the penultimate lap returned him to the points, and secured sixth ahead of Toro Rosso in the standings.
“When I saw Sainz ahead of me and Max Verstappen behind me I wanted to pass them, we did and we’ve got sixth.”
Not to be content with tenth, Romain reeled in Daniil Kyvat and grabbed ninth in his final Grand Prix with Enstone.
“It was the best way to leave the team, scoring some good points and having a good race. The team deserves it and I’m very proud of the gift I’m leaving as a present. It’s been an emotional journey for me and I’m so happy to be able to reward everyone at Enstone with points.”
Meanwhile, Pastor had to play the role of interested spectator after Fernando Alonso knocked Pastor out of the race on the opening corner.
“It’s sad to end the race in the first corner because we were looking good for the race,” he said. “In qualifying we tend to miss a few tenths and then come strong in the race and show that we have top ten pace. Today we had a good strategy to go with the pace, but anyway this is racing and it can happen.”
Alonso’s contact caused suspension damage, and prevented the Venezuelan from continuing his race.
“To be honest, I didn’t see the contact I just felt it in the back of the car from Fernando,” he said. “I tried to restart but then I saw the suspension damage. Imagine if it that incident had been the other way round, it would’ve been big news then!”
While disappointed with how his season ended, he was quick to praise the team’s efforts for the season: “We’ve been competitive to the end of the season, scoring points, and the team has done an amazing job.”
Romain added: “I owe a lot to this team and it really feels like a family to me.”
Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi was proud of the famous Enstone spi
"2015 has been an incredible year for us for so many reasons and I must say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us through what has been a character-building season,” he said. “The resolve of everyone at Enstone has been tested, but we have come through. Today’s race was illustrative of the fighting spirit of Enstone and Romain did us proud in his final race with us.”