Romain Grosjean believes Haas F1 Team is in “a good spot,” after qualifying for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, where he secured his eleventh straight top ten starting spot.
Frenchman Grosjean was the sole Haas to make it into Q3 at the Circuit of the Americas, after team-mate Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in the second segment of qualifying, after finishing twelfth fastest.
In the final part of qualifying, Grosjean was able to post a lap time of 1m:34:250, which was good enough to claim eighth on the grid, behind Nico Hulkenberg but ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber.
By advancing into Q3, Grosjean handed Haas its maiden top ten starting position in its home grand prix, and despite fearing the car did not have the pace relative to other midfield runners, he was feeling optimistic ahead of the race.
“I was happy to be in Q3 again,” he said. “Maybe we’re not quite best of the rest this weekend, at least with the conditions we’ve had. Hopefully, we’ll have a bit more for the race.
“I think we’re pretty much in a good spot [and] we’ve got a good car,” he explained. “It’s exciting to know that we’re in the mix there with Force India sixth and Renault seventh. This midfield battle is pretty amazing.”
Track conditions to change
Friday practice at COTA was reduced owing to the rain, with third practice on Saturday morning the only chance for teams to gather data about tyre life and performance for Sunday’s race, which is expected to be run in hot, dry conditions.
“It should be about 15 degrees hotter in terms of track temperature,” explained Grosjean. “There is a lot of difference for tomorrow. We’ve got one car that can choose its tyres (Magnussen) for the race start and I’ll [be] start[ing] on the ultrasofts.”
The purple-marked ultrasoft Pirelli tyre is not the favoured race tyre, with its lifespan expected to be brief, thus limiting strategy options that the red-walled supersoft provides.
Teams will be looking to one-stop the race with a switch to the soft compound tyre expected to be the favoured strategy at the sole pitstop for each driver.