Grosjean on Nashville qualifying: The car “came to life"

Romain Grosjean says his front-row start in Nashville is a result of he and race engineer OIivier Boisson finding the crucial front-end grip he’s been lacking in recent races.

Grosjean on Nashville qualifying: The car “came to life"

The Andretti Autosport-Honda driver will start from second, his first front-row since he joined the team, and it comes after struggling for pace at recent road and street courses.

“It feels good, I think we've made a lot of work,” said Grosjean who finished qualifying just 0.142sec from Scott McLaughlin’s pole time. “We've had a fair bit of issues recently on different level.

“But, during practice we made a few changes to the car. It came to life. And I liked it. From there, we worked. Made a setup change. Thanks to my boys because they've been working really hard recently. It just feels bloody good to have some fun back behind the wheel, being able to do what I like.”

The former Formula 1 driver said that despite the changes, the differences to the #28 car was still “not too far from our street course package and philosophy, so that's pretty positive. Yesterday it was funny because we made that change, one driver would say, ‘I have a good front end now’. We looked at the data, it's the same.

“We brought it to a good place. I got the confidence going into the corner from the front; the front has to turn. Obviously on a street course that makes a huge difference.”

Asked if he could win, Grosjean referred to last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson prevailing after a crash and a penalty, saying: “I think anyone can win this thing if you're a lap down and you have a stop-and-go!

“We're definitely in a good position. Penske has been really strong this season, but this weekend... We'll see. But we've definitely picked up the pace during qualifying. We've had some good practice sessions. We obviously are going to make a few changes for tomorrow, including putting AC in the car! Go from there.”

Grosjean suggested he wasn’t going to try any heroics at the start to get around McLaughlin, stating: “For me it's just a matter of trying to follow him when he goes, stay second.

“You can tell with the old guys when they normally like to go because they've had a lot of history from starting at the front. I am sure with Scott it is going to be all good. The race is 80 laps. It's not the first 500 meters that matter, or whatever that is.”

Grosjean was the lone high point of a terrible qualifying session for Andretti Autosport as a whole. Both Devlin DeFrancesco and Colton Herta caused red flags in Q1 Group 1, not only losing their two best laps, but also compressing the amount of track time for others – including their teammate Alexander Rossi. The winner of the last race was unable to set a representative lap time so will roll off 17th, while Herta and DeFrancesco will start the Big Machine Music City GP from 23rd and 25th respectively.

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Nashville IndyCar: McLaughlin beats Grosjean to pole
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