Romain Grosjean has hit back at the internet trolls he claims have made his life "painful" at times during his Formula 1 career.
Grosjean has endured some lean times over the years in F1, not least his race ban in 2012 after causing a pile-up at the first corner of the Belgian Grand Prix that led to him seeking out the help of a sports psychologist.
There have also been numerous highs, including his 10 podiums, although he has failed to finish in the top three throughout the past four seasons with Haas.
Grosjean concedes it has not always been easy to cope with the flak that has come his way.
“I’ve been through different phases,” said Grosjean in a recent F1 Instagram Live interview. “Sometimes I was watching [social media comments] and it was just painful.
“So I stopped watching, and, you know what? I got to a point and I was like, ‘I know exactly what I’m doing, I know what I’ve been achieving in Formula 1, I know what I’ve been achieving in my life', and if those guys decide that they will be harsh on me, I can reply in a funny way.”
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The 34-year-old Frenchman now feels he can hold his head up high should he face criticism online.
“If they say you’re a rubbish driver, well, great, maybe I’m a rubbish driver, but I’ve done 169 grands prix," added Grosjean
“If I was that bad, imagine how stupid the team principal would be to keep me in the car?
“Sometimes their [comments are] not as good as you would like them to be, or as polite or respectful, but I think it’s also part of social media.
"I like when people [comment] if it’s in a good way and they face you and they say this is not good, [that] is not good’, and you can explain and talk.
“I’m kind of happy that either people like me or people don’t like me. If you have the charisma of an oyster, people don’t care."