Despite making it into Qualifying 3 for the third time in three races in 2018, Romain Grosjean has said that the Haas F1 Team could have hoped for higher than tenth – calling the situation “not ideal”.
Grosjean suffered a repeat of the brake-by-wire issues seen numerous times over the past two seasons in Free Practice 3, limiting the Frenchman to just six laps in the morning. He also bemoaned a bizarre lack of grip as Qualifying progressed, believing he had more pace in the VF-18.
“This morning, we had our problem and the team did an amazing job to put the car back together,” said Grosjean. “There was a lot of work on the car.
“The engineers changed quite a lot on the setup last night to give me a better feeling in the car, which was great to have today. So, I’m really pleased with all of that.”
At the time of speaking, Grosjean was unsure as to what caused the poor grip in the final part of Qualifying but said that his first stint on the ultra-soft tyres – which have an expected life of around seven or eight laps – will be crucial. However, with the midfield runners who didn’t make it into the top ten – including his team-mate Kevin Magnussen in eleventh – expected to all start on the seemingly superior soft compound Pirelli tyres, Grosjean is wary of the threat behind.
“Our position in Q3 is not ideal,” he added. “On the last lap, we didn’t have the grip we had earlier on in the session. We just need to analyse that and make sure we understand why.
“Tomorrow, the first stint is going to be the key. We’re starting on the ultra-soft, and everyone behind is going to start on the better tyre , but we can work from there.”
Steiner: “I’m looking forward to tomorrow”
Showing a contrasting viewpoint to Grosjean, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner praised a “good Qualifying” for the team and remains hopeful that Haas can score a double points finish for the first time this season, after showing very promising early pace.
“It was quite a good Qualifying,” said Steiner, formerly of Jaguar Racing. “We’re in quite a good position to be in the points tomorrow.
“With Romain, we were already happy just to get him out in time for qualifying, as we had the issue in FP3 with the brake-by-wire. It was a good job from the team to get the car ready again, and we ended up qualifying in the top-10. I’m looking forward to tomorrow because I think we’ve got a very good chance to get two cars in the points for the first time this year.”