Following a dream start to the season for Romain Grosjean with the new Haas F1 team, the Frenchman was brought back down to earth with a bump, quite literally, when he was tagged by the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson at the start of the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix.
Hoping to come away with a hat trick of points hauls on Sunday, Grosjean was hugely disappointed to finish way down the order at the Shanghai International Circuit.
“It was a horrific race,” said Grosjean. “The start was terrible when (Marcus) Ericsson turned into me and got my front wing. From there we had the safety car and I thought, ‘OK, we still have a chance to do something.’ But the balance in the car was nowhere near good.
“I don’t know what happened. Somehow, it’s positive that we had such a difficult race, because we can analyse what we did wrong, what we did right and what we could have done differently. From there, we can come back stronger.
“It’s a difficult one after the two first races. Not the birthday I was hoping for.”
Team-mate Esteban Gutierrez on the other hand, was just pleased to be able to finish a race this season, after the Mexican was forced to retire from the first two rounds through no fault of his own.
“It was fun out there today and to finish the race was a big step,” said Gutierrez. “I think we can now build on this performance as we prepare for Russia. I really want to thank the guys because they’re doing a great job. The pit stops were fantastic, really consistent.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have DRS (Drag Reduction System), so it was difficult to overtake, but overall it was a solid race. We now need to finish inside the points and that’s what we’ll be focusing on, so I’m really looking forward to the next one.”
Sunday’s race was the first really tough weekend that the Haas F1 team has experienced so far this season, but one that they should have been able to take plenty away from, as they keep learning and strive to move forward in their debut year.