Grosjean: Ending 10-year pole drought "like being alive again"

Romain Grosjean says ending a 10-year pole position drought on his third IndyCar appearance was "like being alive again" and reminded him of times he'd "completely forgot" about.

Grosjean: Ending 10-year pole drought "like being alive again"

The former Haas Formula 1 driver, who switched to IndyCar at the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR team over the off-season, beat double series champion Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) by just over a tenth to secure pole for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

It marked his first pole since the start of his title-winning GP2 season in 2011, having rarely found himself in competitive machinery during a 179-race F1 career. All 10 of his podium finishes came with the Lotus F1 team - now called Alpine - before spending five years with startup Ferrari customer squad Haas, which gradually slid down the order after an impressive start in 2015.

Speaking to media after his landmark pole, Grosjean explained that while he could take pleasure in the smaller ‘victories’ with Haas, these didn’t provide the same exhilaration as competing for wins had done in a junior formula career which also yielded the 2007 Formula 3 Euro Series title.

PLUS: Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

“You know, even through the last few years that have been tough in terms of results, I take the example of Germany last year where I finished ninth, with the Haas car, that was quite special," he said.

“I think Germany 2018 as well, we were like 12th after the last safety car. I came back finishing sixth or something in the last 10 laps, that was quite cool - even though you're not winning, you've got that feeling.

“The days that I completely forgot about is when you get to race weekend, you got those butterflies because you know if you do everything right, you may end up on pole or trying to win the race. That's definitely something I had no chance to do over the last few years.

“It feels really good to be in IndyCar on a field that everyone got a chance to go for it.

“It's like being alive again…”

Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Grosjean explained that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course track, which staged F1 races in a slightly moderated layout between 2000 and 2007, was the "most familiar" track on the IndyCar Series schedule to anything he’d experienced in Europe.

“I can tell it was actually designed for Formula 1, the way the kerbs are, the layout and the corners," Grosjean revealed.

"I knew I was going to feel OK on the track quite quickly, whereas [the street circuit at] St. Pete takes a little bit more time to learn. Barber, a few tricks there that you need to understand. Here for me it's a bit more straightforward.”

Grosjean added that he made a made a mistake on his first flying lap in the decisive Fast Six qualifying segment and "knew I had more pace in the second lap".

"It went really, really good. I thought that could be it. That was it,” he said.

shares
comments

Related video

IndyCar GP Indy: Romain Grosjean takes first pole since 2011
Previous article

IndyCar GP Indy: Romain Grosjean takes first pole since 2011

Next article

Indycar GP Indy: VeeKay beats Grosjean for comfortable maiden win

Indycar GP Indy: VeeKay beats Grosjean for comfortable maiden win
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021