Lotus instruct Romain Grosjean to smile on podium after losing out to Kimi Raikkonen
Small mistake means Frenchman loses second place to team-mate
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 07/10/13 9:08am
Lotus have played down the significance of the radio message delivered to an apparently-unhappy Romain Grosjean at the end of the Korean GP.
As Grosjean trailed team-mate Kimi Raikkonen over the line to finish in third place, a Lotus engineer was overheard on the pits-to-car radio telling the Frenchman: "We'll talk about this in the office afterwards but for now big smile on the podium, big smile."
According to team boss Eric Boullier, however, the message was only meant to soothe the youngster after he lost out to Raikkonen.
"Romain was frustrated because he made a small mistake at the restart after the safety car and Kimi just passed him," the Lotus Team Principal told Sky Sports F1.
As the race reached its conclusion with Grosjean closing in on Raikkonen, Boullier was also heard cajoling his driver to chase down the Finn, who announced his intention to depart for Ferrari last month and then revealed that he hasn't been paid this season.
"I think he was begging for some team orders to let him past, but he made a mistake and it was normal racing time," explained Boullier.
"I think he could have been quicker, but he was bit upset that he lost the position so it is just part of his learning curve."
For his part, Grosjean suggested that a troublesome pits-to-car radio system hadn't helped the situation, although admitted that in any case his mistake was the reason why Raikkonen was able to get the run on him and pass.
"Our radio is quite bad, I have to say. I don't hear most of the conversations either," the Frenchman explained.
"I just made a mistake, Kimi could go for it and the unfortunately there was a yellow flag at turn three so I couldn't get my place back. I was quicker today but then we have rules not to fight.
"It's a track where it is most impossible to overtake even though there are long straights. I mean in sector two and three there is so much issue with the front tyres so you cannot get close enough and then lose a lot of downforce, lose a lot of lap time. I should have avoided that astroturf in turn 15 and it would have been the end of the conversation."
Meanwhile, it is understood that Nico Hulkenberg, driver of the day in Korea as he held on to fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, is now in pole position ahead of Felipe Massa, who Raikkonen will replace at Ferrari, in the battle to take the Finn's seat alongside Grosjean next year.