Esteban Gutierrez: “Overall, a pretty disappointing weekend”

Credit: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic

Esteban Gutierrez was unable to see the chequered flag for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a left-front wheel failure.

The Mexican had to immediately pit at the start of the Grand Prix after a puncture on the right-rear tyre from contact with Kevin Magnussen behind. When he returned to the circuit he was pushing himself a lot to make up the places he lost.

From here his race didn’t get any better as on Lap 41, Gutierrez lost his left-front wheel on the short straight leading into Turn nine. He managed to steer the three-wheeled VF-16 to a safe area. Once he climbed out of the car, he joined team-mate Romain Grosjean in the paddock.

Even with this disappointment, Gutierrez believes Haas have to keep their focus on rhythm as they had to Japan next weekend.

“Today we had a fantastic start,” said Gutierrez. “It was pretty good up to the first corner when, unfortunately, I got a puncture in my rear-right tire from Kevin (Magnussen) touching behind.

“I then had to come back to the pits. The floor was damaged and when I went back out on track I was fighting a lot, pushing to make up places, but the car wasn’t easy to drive.

“We had to retire after my second pit stop as we had a mechanical failure. Overall, a pretty disappointing weekend, but we have to keep our focus and keep the rhythm as we head to Japan.”

The stewards looked into the incident that ended his race, and although absolving Gutierrez of any blame, they decided that the team could have done more to prevent an unsafe release, with a €5,000 fine the result.  As well as the fine, the stewards have requested that they do a report into the failure and what actions they’ve done to ensure a repeat does not happen in the future.