Lotus driver Romain Grosjean believes he has proven himself as one of the best drivers in Formula One this year and is ready to lead his team into 2014.

Grosjean transformed his reputation in the second half of the year from a quick but crash-prone driver to Red Bull's closest challenger.

A series of crashes in the previous season led to criticism from fellow drivers but now that he has started to deliver on his potential, Grosjean believes he is among the best in the world.

The team is ready for me to be the leader and I am ready to be the leader

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 driver

"I think I have proven that I am part of the best drivers and that's how I consider myself," Grosjean said.

"It took some work and some painful time to get there, but I am now proud of what I am doing and I don't think I can do more."

The pressure, according to Grosjean, was solely on himself to improve his form following the turbulent 2012.

"I was probably the one that was the most negative about myself.

"I hate not being able to do what I want to be able to do and it was hard.

"Right now I am glad because I'm very happy with what I am doing and it's always nice to be able to read those nice comments."

Kimi Raikkonen has left Lotus for Ferrari over the winter and Grosjean will be joined by Pastor Maldonado next year.

However, after two years of growing up with the team, Grosjean believes he is the right man to lead it in 2014.

"The team knows me and I know them very well.

"That relationship allows us to step up and I think they are ready for me to be the leader and I am ready to be the leader."

Source: AP