Haas F1 Team‘s Romain Grosjean is questioning whether is it worth getting into Qualifying 3 at the Russian Grand Prix, due to the team’s lack of performance staring on the Hypersoft tyre at the previous race in Singapore.
The Singapore Grand Prix saw Romain Grosjean suffer a difficult race after qualifying in the top ten. The Frenchman got in trouble during the race with Sergey Sirotkin for ignoring blue flags, which he was handed penalty points on his licence. Grosjean is now three points away from a twelve month period to getting a one race ban.
Grosjean felt in Singapore that it was a disadvantage qualifying into Q3 due to starting on the Hypersoft tyres. Pirelli is set to bring the same tyre compounds from the last race in Singapore to Russia.
The Frenchman says that the team will have to see how well the Hypersoft tyres will do and whether it is worth going into Q3 in Russia.
“I think we had good pace, which we showed in qualifying. We had good pace on every compound,” said Grosjean.
“Saying that, the problem in Singapore was qualifying in the top-10 with the hypersoft, which didn’t last very long in the race compared to the ultrasoft and the softs. It made the strategy very complicated. In Sochi, we’ll need to see how the hypersoft performs.
“It’s a really good tyre on one lap, but what’s the tyre life? We’ll need to decide if we want to go through to Q3 in qualifying, or if there’s anything we should do differently. You don’t want to be qualifying in the top-10 and then not have a chance to score points in the race.”
Despite the bad result, the Frenchman believes the car worked well at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and is encouraged Haas will perform well in Sochi
“In Singapore we qualified eighth, almost best of the rest. I think the car worked very well, which is very encouraging after a difficult Monaco.
“Sochi should be a good track for us. It’s key to get the tires to work in Russia, and that’s something we haven’t done very well in the past. I’m sure this year we’re going to be much better. I’m very much looking forward to getting there and enjoying it.”
Haas are currently battling for fourth place in the constructors’ championship with multiple midfield teams. Renault Sport Formula One Team are in fourth ahead of the American team after collecting strong point finishes in Singapore.
Grosjean says the battle for fourth between Renault, Haas, McLaren F1 Team and Racing Point Force India F1 Team is an interesting and exciting battle to be apart of.
“It’s very exciting, very interesting. A lot can happen. It’s very open,” commented the French driver.
“I think it’s going to go until the end of the year. It’s great fun. We’re going to do everything we can to definitely get that fourth position in the constructors’ championship.”
The Sochi Autodrom is a circuit known for some complex and interesting corners that bring a unique character in a lap. The heavy braking zone of Turn 2 leads into a fast and long Turn 3, where the drivers’ physicality will be tested.
The long straight leading into Turn 14 is notorious for being a DRS zone and for having a kink that leads into the heavy braking zone, which can caught a driver out. Grosjean says that area of the circuit will be a challenge due to the G-forces they’ll be suffering when going into the section.
“You’re braking with g-forces then going underneath the bridge. It’s very twisty and the tyres are having a tough time around there. That’s where you really need to get a good balance.”
One unique setting of the circuit in Sochi is that it is set within the Sochi Olympic Park, home of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Venues that hosted the events are located around the circuit, which includes the football stadium that hosted games for the 2018 World Cup.
Grosjean’s grandfather, Fernand Grosjean competed in the Olympics as a Skier in the 1948 and 1952 Winter Olympics, which Romain himself says it’s always a pleasure to see where the flame has been.
“I do follow the Olympics. My grandfather competed twice in the Olympic Games as a skier. The Olympics are something very important to my family. It’s always a pleasure to see where the flame is and sharing in that spirit.”