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Following Kimi Raikkonen’s decision to leave Lotus for Ferrari at the end of the season, Romain Grosjean has outqualified his Finnish team-mate in five of the last seven races.

With Lotus driver line-up yet to be confirmed for 2014, the Frenchman is determined to succeed Raikkonen as the team’s main man.

Q: You were struggling at the beginning of the season then turned it around with a string of podium finishes. How do you explain that?

A: We had a slow start to the season, a mapping issue in the car that didn’t suit me very well. By the time we fixed it we were heading into Bahrain, then things improved. It just took us a little bit of time to get in the swing of things, we needed time to catch up on the setup, and nowadays the car suits me very well, I enjoy it. Your performance in the past few races would suggest you will be the lead driver next season... I would like to be world champion one day and to be world champion you need to be number one, so that’s what I’m trying to work towards, and I’m giving my best to achieve that.

Q: What is left for you to achieve this season and how do you rate Lotus’s chances next season?

A: It’s very tight so far this season, the second place for the constructor’s championship is not far from us, we’re in a very good position to achieve that, and that’s what we’re going to try to do. As I’ve been saying, we need to focus in every Grand Prix and do the best we can, and then see in Brazil [what happens]. We’re going to try to give Red Bull a hard time as much as we can during the last few races. Next year is going to be a very, very tough challenge with the change of rules – it’s going to be exciting but it’s also going to give us some headaches.

Q: Do you get on with Kimi? How do you feel about him leaving?

A: I don’t think ‘I’ll miss him’ are the words, but he’s been a very good team-mate. He’s doing a good job.

Q: What do you think of Yas Marina Circuit?

A: It’s a very nice venue, one of the Grands Prix that fans love, start by day, finish by night. The views are very, very nice and on TV it looks cool. It’s not my favourite layout, it’s a little bit too slow but I like the Grand Prix itself. Lotus won here last year and the cars have been known to perform very well in hot conditions, which is something this track obviously brings.

Q: Are you expecting a podium?

A: I’ll see on Sunday, but I am here to win the race. Clearly we have to be realistic once we see where our level of performance is, but so far anything is possible and we’ll approach the job step by step and hopefully Sunday will bring us a good surprise. Like Eric (Boullier) said, hopefully we’ll be in a position to be the first non-Red Bull team.

This or that:

Skittles or M&Ms? I love M&Ms

Late nights or early mornings? Early mornings.

Shakira or Beyonce? Uhh… I’m not very much into music.

Ok, blonde or brunette? Brunette

Hummer or Hybrid? Hybrid

Fish or steak? Fish

Twitter or Instagram? Hard one! I use both of them all the time.

Fame or money? Fame


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