Romain Grosjean is cautiously optimistic after an impressive day for the Haas F1 Team around the Albert Park circuit, with the Frenchman placing an impressive sixth fastest in the second free practice session on Friday.
Haas had been one of the surprises during pre-season testing with their pace, but they were able to translate their speed from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya into a positive day in Australia, with his best lap in the afternoon session less than three-quarters of a second down on the pace of Lewis Hamilton up front.
Grosjean had been seventh fastest in the morning session, 1.704 seconds down, but he saved his best for the afternoon, which will make a number of teams up and down the paddock stand up and pay attention to Haas.
“It’s been a good day. I’m happy with the car and the guys did a great job getting everything ready,” admitted Grosjean. “We had a successful winter test, and it’s good to confirm that the car is up there on a different track and with different temperatures.
“Obviously, it’s early stages and we need to keep up the work and keep building everything. There are areas where we can improve the car but, generally, I’m very happy with how today went.”
Grosjean admits that being in the no mans land between the leading three teams and the midfield pack would suit him and the team, but he remains cautious as he waits to see what the true pace of the remaining teams is compared to them across the rest of the weekend.
“We need to see if it’s real, the no man’s land, and what has happened to the other teams,” Grosjean is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “No man’s land is not ideal but on the other hand Force India was pretty happy last year.
“If you can end up in that position it would be amazing, but we’re fighting big teams – McLaren, Renault, Force India – and they have got a lot of experience and resources as well.
“It’s going to be a very interesting fight and hopefully we can stay clear of them.”