Thuesday, 15 may 2018, 03:00 , by Matthew Scott
Amid all the 'Crashtappen' nonsense of the early weeks of the season, Formula 1's true underperformer has largely gone under the radar. However, a calmer race in Spain and a first-lap wipe-out that collected two other drivers have put the spotlight firmly on Romain Grosjean.
Haas left Barcelona in pre-season with a smugness over their performance that has been replicated across the campaign to date, albeit only in one car.
Kevin Magnussen has come in for his critics, but he has 19 points to his name, after a calm and composed Spanish Grand Prix performance for sixth place. In what looks like the clear fourth-best car on the grid, Grosjean has scored zero.
His last two races have ended haplessly, crashing into the wall under the safety car in Baku when running sixth - an act Guenther Steiner said was beyond even a "rookie" - before spinning across the track at turn three on the first lap and collecting both Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly.
In mitigation, Grosjean had spun attempting to avoid contact with Magnussen, but his decision to bury the accelerator, blowing a huge plume of thick tyre smoke across a busy track, was poor and the on-board footage from Gasly's car showed how scary a moment it created.
Grosjean will serve a three-place grid penalty in Monaco, making points-scoring difficult again, but a withering put-down from Hulkenberg - "he likes spinning a lot" - could do more damage to a driver who has been mentioned quietly as a potential replacement for Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.
The Frenchman has done well to shake off a reputation for the reckless which followed his one-race ban for causing a crash at Spa in 2012. However, only rookie Sergey Sirotkin, driving an atrocious Williams, is level on 0 with Grosjean in the standings. He'll do well to keep his seat if this form continues.
- Victory in Barcelona came in record-breaking fashion for Lewis Hamilton, who moved past a Michael Schumacher milestone.
- Could the dominant nature of victory also give Hamilton the perfect time to sign his new Mercedes deal?
- F2's Sunday race was notable for the halo coming into use for the first time. Tadasuke Makino said it might have saved his life.
- The third race of next season will be F1's 1000th. Plans had been concocted to hold it at Silverstone, but the UK in April isn't always the most welcoming...