Romain Grosjean says maintaining his role of the overachiever with new team Haas is going to be a big challenge in China but hopes the upgrades the team is set to try will help him attain the goal.
The Haas F1 driver has surprised himself and the entire F1 paddock with two standout performances from the opening two races, taking sixth place in Australia before going one better with fifth in Bahrain.
The results have put the French driver in the unexpected position of aiming to keep pace with the world title challengers – Grosjean sits fifth in the drivers' championship ahead of Sebastian Vettel and level on points with Kimi Raikkonen – and he has faith in the upgrades Haas is bringing to the Chinese Grand Prix to step up the performance of the VF-16.
“Now it's going to be our challenge to keep up with the big boys,” Grosjean said. “We've had a good start and have a good baseline. Of course, as a driver, I want more performance. I think there are a few more parts coming in China and then a few more after that.
“I'm very much looking forward to trying the first updates to see if they're working as they should. We're not a hundred percent with the car yet, so there are still a few things we can do without adding the updates.”
A cornerstone to Grosjean's early success has been a near-flawless tyre strategy in both races which is something he is looking to exploit again in China to record a third straight points finish.
If Grosjean does achieve points in China it would make it his longest stretch of consecutive points finishes in F1 with six, starting at last year's Mexican Grand Prix with Lotus.
“I think there's still huge potential that we haven't unlocked in the car, which is great. It's certainly a lot of fun for all the guys and myself,” he said. “Having aggressive strategies gives you some good opportunities. Again, in China, we have some aggressive tyre options, so hopefully they will work as well as they did in Bahrain.”