Romain Grosjean says the Spa-Francorchamps circuit gives drivers a good feeling when they get out on track, although the first lap at full pelt can feel like he is on a rollercoaster.
The Haas F1 Team racer has a varied history at Spa-Francorchamps, with his first corner crash in 2012 eliminating a number of drivers and earning him a race ban, while his most recent podium finish came at the same track in 2015 whilst driving for the Lotus F1 Team, which earned him a little bit of redemption.
The Frenchman has been under pressure this season after a number of mistakes that cost both himself and his team points, but he has scored in three of the past four races, including the teams’ best ever result in the Austrian Grand Prix, when he finished fourth.
“It’s just a great track. There are very high-speed corners and there are a lot of turns, different types, some high speed, some low – just a good variety overall,” said Grosjean. “It gives you a good feeling to drive.
“Spa is a very high-speed circuit with a lot of good fun and good memories, but I’ve got to admit that last year from turn five to the back straight of turn 15, the whole middle part of the circuit has been much faster. We’ve had that feeling from the extra grip and downforce of the new cars.
“The first lap you go through flat out, you feel sick, like you’re on a rollercoaster because it goes up and down. You’re thinking, will I make that for the race? But, once you’ve done it once, it’s all ok and you just enjoy the g-forces.”
There are usually a few different approaches to set-up at Spa due to its layout and variety in its sectors, and Grosjean says being fast in sectors one and three, or in sector two, both seem to work and it is down to driver preference to how they want to attack the race.
“You always see different approaches at Spa,” said the Frenchman. “Either you’re fast in sector one and sector three, which are the high-speed sectors, or you’re fast in sector two, which has more of the corners.
“Both work pretty well, so it’s a matter of how you want to approach the race.”
Grosjean says it is important to arrive at a race weekend with confidence and ambition of taking the best result possible, because if there is any doubts that he cannot perform to his best then there is no point even considering racing.
“If I turn up at a race weekend not thinking that I’m the best, or that I can’t win the race, I’d be better off staying at home with my children,” said Grosjean. “I always want to be on the podium. I always want to try to win the race.
“Of course, it depends a lot on the car, but in the end, you can never give up and you always strive to give your best. That’s the mentality you should have.”