Grosjean feared tyre failure in late stages of Austrian GP

by James Eagles
Romain Grosjean - 2018 Austrian GP - Formula 1

After collecting his long overdue maiden points finish of the 2018 championship, Romain Grosjean expressed his relief in making it to the finish of the Austrian Grand Prix after suffering with severe blistering on his rear tyres.

Grosjean managed to convert his grid position of fifth to fourth come the race, taking advantage of Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton‘s car problems ahead of him. The result sees the Frenchman move up to fifteenth in the Drivers’ Championship, one point behind Charles Leclerc.

The Haas F1 Team driver praised the team for “an amazing job” through the weekend. Grosjean’s team-mate Kevin Magnussen trailed in fifth place, ensuring that Haas celebrated their 50th grand prix in Formula 1 with their biggest haul of points from a single race and their highest ever finish, eclipsing Grosjean’s fifth place finishes at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2016 and ’18.

“It’s a great day for all of us, the whole team,” said Grosjean.

“They deserve such a good result with the cars finishing fourth and fifth. It’s incredible for our 50th grand prix. I’m so, so happy for all the guys. We’ve done an amazing job all weekend.”

It also sees Haas pass their points total of 47 for the whole of 2017 and elevates them to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, putting them 13 points behind the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team – who failed to score this weekend.

Grosjean admitted that his lofty position was ultimately fortuitous, and that Haas do still need to improve in a few undisclosed areas, but it gives the team a good platform to build from.

The 32-year-old struggled on his soft compound tyres in the last 20 laps of the race, having pitted under the Virtual Safety Car on lap 16, due to rear blistering – an issue seen on most cars throughout the field. Immediately after the race, Grosjean gave an insight into their condition.

“When you’re gonna [sic] see the rear tyres, bro [sic],” he said, over the radio. “These tyres are like you’ve never seen [them before].”

Later, Grosjean said that he was afraid “they were going to explode at any time” and was thankful to get to the end on only on pitstop.

“We had some luck in the race with the Mercedes cars not finishing, but it’s been a great weekend and we can really build on that,” he added.

“There are still a few things we can improve here and there, but I’m happy we managed to get that long stint on the tyres. The last 20 laps were not fun – there were blisters on the rears – and I was afraid they were going to explode at any time.

“I am just so happy that we hung in there and finished fourth and fifth.”

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