Romain Grosjean was happy with the result of Qualifying for the German Grand Prix, with the Haas F1 Team racer continuing to use the Melbourne-spec VF-19 to good effect to qualify sixth on the grid.
Haas continued its experiment of running split set-ups on each of its cars, with Grosjean reverting back to the original specification while Kevin Magnussen running the updated specification, and it was the Frenchman who had the better session on Saturday at the Hockenheimring as he put his car onto the third row of the grid.
Qualifying however has not been the main issue for Haas in 2019, with their race pace often nowhere in comparison, with Grosjean hoping the same kind of scenario does not happen again this weekend as he bids to score only his third top ten finish of the year.
“I think from yesterday to this morning, Kevin was very happy with the new package, there’s some good understanding of the upgrades here,” said Grosjean. “Obviously, with track temperatures coming up a bit in qualifying, I was happier with my car.
“You always want to be on top of the midfield, but today the Alfa Romeo was just too strong for us – it’s super tight in the midfield, which is exciting. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, we’ll do our best.
“Sometimes this year we’ve had good qualifying sessions followed by tough races. Hopefully this isn’t one of those and we can hang in there with some good race pace. Yesterday we were happy, and the cooler temperatures should help us in the race.”
Magnussen felt his Saturday was better than his Friday where he was unable to unlock any pace from his VF-19, but he was disappointed that a lock-up at turn two on his final flying lap in Q2 denied him the chance to reach Q3. He was only 0.013 seconds away from advancing but with the midfield battle so tight, thousandths of a second were making the difference during the Qualifying hour.
“I had a very good car this morning in FP3, yesterday it was really tricky, we just had no balance at all,” said Magnussen. “With the cooler track temperatures this morning it just seemed to be working. The track temperatures picked up again for qualifying and it seems like we lost a little bit again.
“I missed out on Q3, I locked up on my second set of tyres. There might have been a bit of lap time in there, but the first lap wasn’t bad. It’s still a good comeback from where we were yesterday.
“It might rain tomorrow, so anything can happen. If not, and it’s dry, at least we’ve got a free choice of tyres – so there are some positives.”
Team Principal Guenther Steiner felt sixth and twelfth on the grid was ‘pretty good’ for Haas, particularly after the recent results for the team, and it gives them some hope heading into Sunday’s eleventh race of the season as they look to move up from their current ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Finishing sixth and twelfth in qualifying, after a challenging period over the last few races, is pretty good,” said Steiner. “Unfortunately, Kevin locked up on his last lap in Q2, so he didn’t make it, but it was very tight between eighth and 13th – I think it was about two-hundredths of a second.
“But, starting twelfth, that may be a different strategy. Romain did a great job to be starting sixth.
“Now we have to see how the weather will be tomorrow, and how we get ready for rain, as that’s what’s being predicted as of now. It’s been a good job from the whole team to get us back where we want to be.”