Grosjean ‘proud’ of JHR’s good result after a controversial week

The weekend did not start well for the 38-year-old Swiss-born Frenchman after a crash on the first lap of opening practice last Friday.

Even with a lack of track time and after qualifying 14th in mixed weather conditions, Grosjean still felt the pace was on track to have a chance of winning the 55-lap race.

After avoiding early race confusion and employing a three-stop strategy – starting with the softer alternative tires and switching to the harder stock tires after the first stop – he battled inside the top ten.

Grosjean managed to pass Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward on the final lap to finish seventh, his second top-10 of the season and best result with JHR.

The result was boosted by JHR, which last week sparked a controversy involving Agustin Canapino that led to the dissolution of its strategic alliance with Arrow McLaren.

“It feels like we deserve more,” Grosjean said. “I don’t know where people disappeared to because I felt we were keeping up with O’Ward, (Kyle) Kirkwood, (Alexander) Rossi, (Christian) Lundgaard and (Marcus) Ericsson.

“Obviously some guys had a bit more pace than us, but the car performed amazingly and I’m very proud of where we finished.

“We did such a great job. On Friday, after nothing, the warm-up was our first lap on dry surface and we did really well.

Romain Grosjean and Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Romain Grosjean and Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Photo: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Arrow McLaren rookie Theo Pourchaire sparked the ire of Canapino fans after colliding with him during the Detroit Grand Prix.

Pourchaire then flagged the abuse he faced on his social media channels, which led to more hate online.

Canapino, a 34-year-old Argentine driver, reacted on social media to several fan posts directed at Pourchaire, along with a statement in which he rejected claims that his supporters were threatening rivals.

As a result, Canapino took a “vacation” from Road America and was replaced by full-time Indy NXT competitor Nolan Siegel, who finished 23rd.

“They were very strong,” Grosjean said of his team. “They focused on the race and the race and gave their all.

“I apologized to my engineer (on Saturday) because after qualifying I was a little angry because I knew we had more than we had. I told him, “You know, I want more for you because I know we can do more.”

“And I think (in the race) we showed that. The pace was very strong. Don’t think the yellows helped us with our normal strategy, but we did a great job. I’m very proud of them.”

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, accident

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Romain Grosjean, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, accident

Photo: Art Fleischmann

A series of difficult results plagued Grosjean in early April, including several clashes with AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci at Barber Motorsports Park and at the Indianapolis Road Course, as well as a hit by Lundgaard in Detroit.

“I need a bit of luck and (it) was a normal race,” Grosjean said. “We weren’t lucky, but I feel like we were strong all year. We did really well in Detroit, but we were unlucky.

“We were strong at Barber, but our strategy didn’t work. Indy Road route from Santino. Honestly, I think we did a very good job this year, we were very consistent and tried not to make mistakes.

“I wasn’t too happy after Friday, but we bounced back nicely.”

After scoring his best result since finishing second for Andretti Autosport at Barber last year, Grosjean flew to Europe this weekend to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Lamborghini squad run by Iron Lynx.