Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean says he’s happy with his qualifying performance in the wet – especially considering his previous wet qualifying pace in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix began in the dry, though under the looming threat of an approaching rain cloud. Whilst it stayed away for the first two sessions, the cloud arrived and the heavens opened just as the third session started – sending teams and drivers alike scrambling to change from slick to intermediate tyres.
Whilst it initially looked to be bad luck, the rain would turn out to be a blessing for the frenchman, as he took the opportunity to put more fuel in the car and change to intermediate tyres. This fuel load played a crucial role in his qualifying result, as it allowed him to stay out longer than Aston Martin Red Bull Racing rivals Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen – meaning that as the rain stopped, he could take advantage of a drying track and set a faster lap time. He did just that, and set the fifth fastest time of the day, to Verstappen and Ricciardo’s seventh and eighth respectively.
This fifth place is considerably better than his performance in the last wet qualifying session – in Hungary – when he found himself in tenth place and almost five seconds behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.
This improvement, Grosjean says, makes him even happier with his season-best qualifying result.
“It wasn’t easy, but it’s great to have a qualifying session like this – beating some of the top teams and ending just behind the Force Indias, who were very strong in the wet conditions.
“We’re fast in the dry as well, which is good. I think we were in front of one of the Red Bulls most of the time – that’s quite exciting, as well.
“I was ready to give it all in Q3, and then the rain came and added to the fun. It was a close call at the start, whether we tried a lap on slicks to begin with. I was tempted to go for it, but I think it was just too wet, so everyone went for the intermediates.
“I’m happy with our performance, especially knowing that our last qualifying in the wet, we were not so good.”