Romain Grosjean has revealed that he was cheering Force India rival Nico Hulkenberg's final Q2 lap in the hope that the German was actually bump him from the final phase of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying.
Grosjean occupied the eighth and final spot for Q3 when Hulkenberg made the late decision to try and improve his own position, and the Haas F1 driver admits that he was happy to see someone gunning for his place.
"We could have had a go at trying again to get through to Q3, but there was no point in terms of tyre usage for the race tomorrow, so we just sat there and I was actually hoping someone would overtake me and that I was going from P8 to P9 - which is a bit strange, but it's the way it is with the new tyres," Grosjean explained, having gained a free tyre choice for the start of Sunday's race.
“I saw [Hulkenberg] was late in sector one and I was like 'come on, come on!'. Then sector two was good and I was actually happy. I was saying on the radio 'come on, just go for it - put me P9'."
Grosjean's dilemma, of course, is a product of the much-maligned qualifying system currently imposed on the drivers, and the Frenchman clearly wants to see the back of it when the powers that be meet on Sunday morning.
"It's a bit of a shame because we would like to go out in qualifying and play for the best results, but we know we have got a choice for a free tyre and that is what you want," he said of his support of Hulkenberg, "Sitting in the car for seven minutes waiting to be eliminated is not the way it should be. You want to see, at the last minute, cars going out on track and the classification changing like crazy, thinking 'oh is he going to make it or not?'.”
Despite slipping off the fourth row, Grosjean was delighted to give Haas its best qualifying result to date, albeit from just two races, and insisted that the team was worthy of a place in the midfield.
“I think P9 is the best position we could be right now," he claimed, "The higher you are on the grid, the better it is but, in between seventh and twelfth. [ninth] is probably the best place you want to be.
"That was a good quali as we didn't think we would be that high up. Of course, the target was to get into Q2 to make an improvement from the first race, and not f*ck up the new format again. Everyone is pleased with that and I think we've unlocked some potential in the car - but there is more to come in the next races.”
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