Romain Grosjean admitted it has been a complicated weekend at the Sochi Autodrom after qualifying down in fifteenth position, one place ahead of Haas F1 Team team-mate Esteban Gutierrez.
Grosjean has been complaining of grip issues with his tyres throughout the weekend, and the Frenchman believes conserving tyre life and saving fuel will be key during Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.
“It’s been a complicated weekend so far for us,” said Grosjean. “We’ve been struggling with the grip and the car.
“It’s difficult to get the tire to work on such a smooth asphalt. We’re progressing, we’re learning and doing the most we can do. I still don’t have the feeling I used to have earlier in the season with the car. We really need to analyze that.
“Then tomorrow’s going to be a long race with a lot of fuel saving. The tires are hard to keep in the window, so it’s going to be challenging for everyone. Maybe we can try to be a bit more clever. Let’s do our best, let’s analyse and let’s keep having some interesting data. We’ll see where we are after the race.”
Team-mate Gutierrez ended up less than a tenth of a second adrift of Grosjean in qualifying, with the duo ensuring an all-Haas row eight for the team’s fourth Grand Prix.
“Qualifying was pretty hard,” reflected Gutierrez. “It was difficult to get the tires to work here so it’s been a bit of a challenge.
“I was doing my best, with all the options we have available, to maximize everything but I’m not really satisfied with the result.
“However, we still have a race to do tomorrow. Hopefully a few surprises may come our way that will give us a chance to be up in the points. It’s probably not going to be very straightforward, as the pace is not as good as we want it to be, but we will definitely push hard and do our best to get there.”