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Lotus say Vettel, not penalties, spoiled Grosjean’s race

Jul 30, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-F1-HUN

The greatest damage to Romain Grosjean’s victory chances in the Hungarian Grand Prix was not done by his penalties during and after the race, according to Lotus.

The team believe the real harm to Grosjean’s hopes of scoring his first win in Hungary were done when he got stuck behind Sebastian Vettel.

Grosjean came close to passing Vettel at the start but the Red Bull driver gave him little space on the run to turn one, ensuring the Lotus stayed behind. Grosjean spent the next two stints in Vettel’s wheel tracks.

“It could have been better, yes, but we were not expecting to get stuck behind Vettel at the beginning of the race, to be honest,” team principal Boullier said to Autosport. “After that, the chance for Romain to win was off.”

Boullier added they were able to be flexible with Grosjean’s strategy because of how well the Lotus treated its tires. But as they tried to maneuver Grosjean into a position where he could jump Vettel, he ended up stuck in more traffic.

Grosjean picked up two places during the course of the race. One, for overtaking Felipe Massa off the track, resulted in a drive-through penalty. After the race he was given a further 20-second penalty for colliding with Jenson Button.

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