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Romain Grosjean was glad to be knocked out in Q2

MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images

Romain Grosjean says he was urging Nico Hulkenberg to knock him into the elimination zone in Q2 because he knew it would set him up well for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Grosjean starts Sunday evening's race ninth, meaning he is the first of the drivers on the grid who can choose which tyres to start the race on. Those who make it into the top eight shootout have to start the race on the super-soft tyres they set their quickest Q2 lap on.

The Haas driver was sitting in eighth as the elimination clock ticked down on Nico Hulkenberg in Q2, but the Force India driver not only jumped clear of 12th but knocked Grosjean down to ninth.

Asked if he was watching Hulkenberg's lap, Grosjean said: "I saw he was late in sector one and I was like 'Come on! Come on!' Then sector two was good and I was actually happy. I was saying on the radio 'Come on, just go for it. Put me P9'. It's a bit of a shame because we would like to go out in qualifying and play for the best results but we know we have got a choice for a free tyre and that is what you want.

"That was a good quali, we didn't think we would be that high up. Of course the target was to get in to Q2 to make an improvement from the first race and not f--- up the new format again, which we did not and that was good. Everyone is pleased with that."

The new qualifying format had another questionable outing in Bahrain and saw long periods of inactivity.

When a journalist said Grosjean wanting to be knocked down the order wasn't the way F1 should be, the Frenchman said: "Well sitting in the car for seven minutes waiting to be eliminated is not the way it should be. You want to see at the last minute cars going out on track and the classification changing like crazy and thinking 'Oh is he going to make it or not?'