Two weeks ago in Australia, Romain Grosjean was one of the stars of qualifying. An outstanding performance had put the Haas driver in sixth place on the grid in Melbourne.

This weekend in Shanghai proved to be a sharp contrast for Grosjeanman, who will have to start from the back row on Sunday.

“The first lap was looking good in qualifying, then I spun on the last corner for some unexpected reason,” he said afterwards.

“We need to look if I went a bit too hard on throttle on the exit.”

Grosjean then had one last chance in the session to improve his time and avoid early elimination. Unfortunately an accident for Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi wrecked his one and only lifeline.

“The second lap was actually really good. I was aiming for P10, but Giovinazzi crashed at the last corner and I couldn’t complete my lap. It’s just hard luck.”

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Unfortunately Grosjean’s luck got even worse, as he was referred to the race stewards for not slowing sufficiently under the yellow flags.

The stewards ruled that Grosjean “attempted to set a meaningful lap time after passing through a double waved yellow marshalling sector. They handed Grosjean a five-place grid penalty for this breach of the regulations.

Grosjean tweeted his disagreement about the steward’s decision, revealing data from his lap (see here under)

“So apparently I made no effort to slow down and didn’t abandon the lap… data shows a different point of view.”

“I backed off before the corner, took the corner slowly,” he later explained.

“I didn’t go to the pit because the engineer told me it was a single-yellow flag so that could just be a spin and going again, I didn’t know it was a crash.

“I lost one second and I was fully backed off before the corner, and after the corner.”

As a result, Grosjean will drop from his provisional 17th place on the grid to the back row. He’ll be joined there by Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, who was also penalised by the stewards.

That leaves the Haas driver with a lot of work on his hands for tomorrow, but the weather might yet give him a shot at pulling off an upset.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a long race,” he said. “We know the tyre degradation will be a huge thing here in the rain, and it should rain.

“It’s a white piece of paper to start,” he added.

GALLERY: All the pictures from Saturday in Shanghai

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