Just two weeks after producing a landmark sixth place finish on its F1 debut in Australia, Haas went one better in Bahrain with a strategically astute run to fifth place courtesy of Romain Grosjean.
Following his rapid turn in Australia and a strong showing in free practice, Grosjean and Haas were tipped for good points after qualifying in ninth place, allowing it flexibility with its tyre strategy.
When Grosjean proceeded to benefit from the melee at the start to run in sixth place at the end of the first lap, he was even better positioned to capitalise, his three stops including three super-soft tyre stints before a run on softs at the end.
Lifting him to fifth by the chequered flag at the expense of both Williams, but behind the recovering Lewis Hamilton, Grosjean was thrilled with the result after another tactically perfect performance.
“This was amazing,” he said. “There was no safety car, no incidents, nothing on track that made us finish as well as we did. We were fighting not far from the Red Bulls, and in front of Williams and Toro Rosso. This is crazy.
“I have a good feeling in the car. The tyre degradation has always been my strength in the past. Now that we have softer compounds it is something that I do like, so I have a very good feeling on the super softs. I set the car up well for it and I had a fantastic race. That car has a very good baseline, everything is working well – suspension, gearbox, brakes, so it is just nice to drive.
Fifth in the drivers' standings now, Grosjean says such a result is another massive morale boost for the team.
“Fifth in the drivers' championship! I think I have never been that high! I can't believe it. I was going to tweet a picture of the standings after Melbourne, saying I am fifth. And now I am in front of Vettel and equal with Raikkonen. OK, we are going to have harder days, don't think it is all going to be like this. But right now we enjoy it, we take a morale boost, we rest well and we come back in China.”