Romain Grosjean was lucky to escape the first segment of Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday, but the Haas F1 Team racer made the most of his chance as he ultimately qualified sixth at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Just 0.001 seconds separated Grosjean in fifteenth from Racing Point Force India F1 Team’s Sergio Pérez and from being eliminated at the first hurdle, while Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team’s Charles Leclerc was only 0.002 seconds behind the Frenchman as less than a tenth of a second separated tenth and seventeenth in Q1.
Once through that first session, it got better and better for Grosjean, and he was ultimately able to place himself into sixth in Q3, just over three-tenths of a second shy of Max Verstappen of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing but ahead of Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in seventh.
“It was good. It was a bit on the limit in Q1,” said Grosjean. “It didn’t quite work – the margin to get through wasn’t as big as we wanted, but then Q2 was pretty good.
“Q3 was nice, everyone improved, but I knew it was going to be super tight. I thought we’d have a bit more margin at the end. I was surprised to see the Renault so fast, and I expected the Force India to be up there.”
Grosjean feels Haas can also have a good race on Sunday after showing good long-run pace during practice, and he hopes to remain in front of the ultra-tight midfield battle that has livened up this weekend.
“I’m very happy to be starting P6 and, of course, there’s some work to be done for tomorrow, but I think we’ve got a good race pace, as well,” said Grosjean.
“There’s a super tight midfield battle going on and we love it.”