Romain Grosjean has claimed Lewis Hamilton would “never have been able to fight for points” if he drove last year’s Haas car.
Hamilton, now a seven-time World Champion, has often been subject to comments that the main reason for his success is the car that he drives and not his ability.
It’s a debate which certainly isn’t new to Formula 1, but it was strengthened even further when George Russell swapped his Williams car with the W11 in Hamilton’s absence at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, and he put in a mightily strong performance.
He looked well on track to finish P1, but a tyre mix up in the pit lane and then a later puncture ruined those chances, although he did still manage to make it back up to P9.
That performance proved to many that the car itself does a large part of the work, and Grosjean agrees with that view.
RacingNews365 quote him as saying: “Hamilton would never have been able to fight for points in last year’s Haas car either. A lot depends on the car you drive. That makes it difficult to compare drivers with each other.
“(Charles) Leclerc, for example, in my opinion also drove a good 2020 season, but because his car was not good enough it didn’t quite come out. Russell is perhaps the clearest example that proves that the car ultimately makes the difference.”
The mishap in the Mercedes garage left a gap open for somebody to take advantage and that turned out to be Sergio Perez, who claimed a remarkable first victory in Formula 1 in his 190th Grand Prix.
At that stage, Checo was still without a drive for the 2021 season, with Racing Point – who have since become Aston Martin – replacing the Mexican with Sebastian Vettel.
Perez did earn himself a seat, though, and he heads into the new season a Red Bull driver. It was a move which Grosjean was pleased to see happen.
He said: “I think it’s great that he’s getting a chance there. I’m very happy for him and I’m convinced that he will do well in a top team.
“It’s his second chance at a top team, after his time at McLaren, but now it’s different. He is really ready now to put his cards on the table.”
For Grosjean himself, his next venture is yet to be confirmed, but IndyCar team owner Dale Coyle has publicised his interest in the Frenchman.