Haas achieved one of their season objectives in Suzuka qualifying as Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez pulled off the team’s best qualifying session to date by getting both cars into Q3.
Grosjean impressively managed the exact same lap-time as Force India’s Sergio Perez, the Mexican starting in 6th after Vettel’s penalty drop to 7th. Gutierrez was 6-tenths down on his teammate but still managed to beat both Williams drivers in Q2 and escape the drop.
— Andy Hone (@andyhone) October 8, 2016
After the session, team boss Gunther Steiner said,
“A very good day for us. We completed our program in FP3, the guys learned a lot and we were able to set the cars up for qualifying resulting in P8 and P10. To get both Romain and Esteban into Q3 was one of the targets for this year and we’ve now achieved it. If you’re in your first year and you get two cars in there by merit, it’s fantastic. Hats off to the team and to the drivers.
Tomorrow we’re going to try to do a good race and, for sure, it’s possible now to get into the points.”
– Gunther Steiner
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) October 8, 2016
Grosjean will be relieved with his car’s brakes more than anything given that the failure reoccurred in Practice after his spin into the gravel pits of Sepang. He was critical of the supplier before qualifying and said,
“You drive at 320km/h and the brake doesn’t work, how would you react? It could be dangerous. Yes, there are things I don’t accept.
It’s not against the team, it’s against the suppliers.”
– Romain Grosjean
— F1FansPitstop 🍾🏁 (@f1fanspitstop) October 7, 2016
His 8th place start is the best Haas have managed all season and it looks like the Frenchman’s gamble to take his cars set-up back to square one has paid off. He said,
“I feel pretty good after that and I’m very pleased for the whole team. We brought all the updates we had. We made the new front wing work on the car and that made a difference in qualifying. The whole session went very smoothly.
I didn’t get my DRS (Drag Reduction System) on the last stretch of the final corner. But, we’re here and tomorrow’s a long race at a very difficult track. Tire degradation will be very important. Hopefully, if the balance is as good tomorrow as it was today, we should be fine.”
– Romain Grosjean
Haas are currently 19 points behind Toro Rosso in the Constructors. If the team can bag a few more points in Suzuka, they will look more likely to catch the Italian team in 7th.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2016