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F1 Austrian Grand Prix: Grosjean: I didn’t fear similar tyre failure to Vettel's

Romain Grosjean says he felt Haas had its tyre management under control and didn't fear a similar tyre blow out to Sebastian Vettel
Romain Grosjean says he felt Haas had its tyre management under control and didn't fear a similar tyre blow out like Sebastian Vettel's on his way to a momentum-gaining seventh place finish in Austria.

Vettel suffered a dramatic tyre failure at the start of lap 27 on the home straight when his super-soft right-rear Pirelli exploded, sending the Ferrari driver careering into the pit wall barrier and out of the race.

At the same time Grosjean was on an identical strategy to Vettel having also started on the super-softs and pitted on the same lap of the German's tyre failure, looking to profit from the safety car period.

Grosjean then raced to the chequered flag on one set of soft tyres to take seventh place to return Haas to the points for the first time since the Russian Grand Prix.

The French driver says at the time he wasn't aware of Vettel's incident but never feared pushing his super-soft tyres beyond its limits in the first stint.

“Everything was under control, the pace was good,” Grosjean said. “Yes, they were not in a good shape, but the Red Bull passed me on the new soft and they were not much faster so I thought this is actually going to plan.

“I managed to keep my tyres in a pretty alright condition, it was quite difficult to do 25 laps on the super soft but that was the plan. It was going to be a little bit longer, the safety car came at a good time.”

Assessing his race as a whole, Grosjean felt after a tricky start losing three places on the opening lap Haas optimised his one-stop strategy and says seventh place was realistically his maximum in Spielberg before taking into consideration of Vettel's DNF ahead of him.

“I had a decent start and a good turn two but to turn three I was pushed very wide by I think Sainz who came very, very wide, so I had to open and lost three positions,” he said. “After the safety car I think I had a bit better pace than the McLaren in front, but following – you need a big difference to overtake, and I didn't have that difference.

“It was a shame that Button overtook me before the safety car because without that I would have been in front and maybe I could have opened a gap, but it was a fun race. I told my guys I thought we can do P7, so got it right!”

Grosjean's fourth points finish of the year sees him jump into the top ten in the F1 drivers' championship ahead of Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat.

Ferrari and Pirelli is investigating cause of Vettel's right-rear blow out but do not believe it was because of excessive running and wear after the tyre manufacturer estimated the super-softs could last up to 30 laps.
by Haydn Cobb

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