Romain Grosjean believes that Haas F1 Team is Formula 1’s fourth best team after a strong showing in Friday practice for the German Grand Prix, with he and team-mate Kevin Magnussen well inside the top 10 in both sessions.
French driver Grosjean is looking to bounce back from a DNF in the British Grand Prix after contact at Copse with Carlos Sainz, Jr. on a safety car restart. In the opening 90-minute session, he led the so-called ‘Class B’ of F1 with the seventh fastest time of the session, a 1m:14.691s.
In the afternoon session, in blistering conditions at the Hockenheimring, he completed 34 laps, with a best effort of 1m:13.973s, which was the sixth quickest time of the session.
Magnussen, meanwhile slotted in behind his team-mate on the time sheets in both sessions, around two tenths slower in each.
The team logged a total of 127 laps during the two sessions, and despite the strong showing, Grosjean believes that come the race on Sunday, keeping the tyres cool and avoiding blistering could prove a major hurdle.
“I’m pretty happy with our day,” he said. “We were the fourth fastest team again [and] that is where we want to be. The car has been working pretty well [and is] happiest in the high-speed sections.
“It’s been very warm today [and] the tyres haven’t been having a good time in general – for everyone. It is hard to keep them cool.
“We’re hoping for a dry race as it’ll be easier for everyone. We have to chose the right tyre, at the right time,” explained Grosjean. “It should be cooler for the race which will help managing the tyres, and allow us to be able to push a bit more.”
Tyre manufacturer Pirelli have brought the ultrasoft, soft and medium compound tyres to Germany, and blistering on the rear tyres was a constant theme throughout the day’s running.
In F1’s recent triple-header of grands prix, tyre blistering was a major talking point, owing to extreme track temperatures in both Austria and Britain, with some drivers requiring extra, unscheduled pitstops owing to worse than expected tyre degradation and the resulting lack of pace.