Nearing race ban Romain Grosjean is on knife edge

Posted at 2:30 AM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 04:30:24-04

Formula One driver Romain Grosjean is on the brink of a race ban after his erratic driving at the Singapore Grand Prix resulted in him accruing a further two penalty points on his license.

The Frenchman, who drives for the Haas F1 Team, was adjudged to have ignored blue flags at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and not moving aside quickly enough to allow race leader Lewis Hamilton and second-placed Max Verstappen to pass him.

Grosjean, who was involved in a battle of his own with Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, apologized to Hamilton after his error cost the Briton five crucial seconds and allowed Verstappen to catch him.

“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” Grosjean told reporters. “I believe I did my best. I was fighting with Sergey, who was doing a little bit of go-kart racing out there.

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“I couldn’t really slow down. Pierre [Gasly] was on my gearbox and Sergey was on my front wing. I passed him, then as soon as I passed him, I let Lewis by.”

Four-time world champion Hamilton said the incident left him with his “heart was in my mouth for a minute.”

‘Completely forgot’ the rules

Any driver that accumulates 12 points on their “Super License” in a 12-month period will automatically receive a ban — Grosjean currently has nine.

The 32-year-old received his first point on October 29, 2017 at the United States Grand Prix, meaning he’ll need to be on his best behavior at the upcoming Russian, Japanese, United States and Mexican Grands Prix.

Any potential ban would be the second of Grosjean’s career, the first coming after he was ruled to have caused the spectacular opening-corner crash at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix.

Grosjean had been involved in seven first-lap crashes in the 12 races so far that season and was also fined €50,000.

After the Singapore Grand Prix, Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting said Grosjean “just completely forgot the golden rule of blue flags.”

“If you’re in a battle, you’ve got to forget about your own battle and move over,” he said. “I’ve drilled that into them many, many times and I think he just completely forgot about it.

“He was so intent on his battle with Sirotkin, the light panels were flashing with his race number on them and Lewis was much, much faster.

“It was probably one of the worst cases of ignoring blue flags that I’ve seen for a long time.”