Guenther Steiner says it seems Esteban Gutierrez allowed 'pressure' to get to him at the start of the Italian Grand Prix as a woeful getaway from a top ten starting position scuppered his hopes of getting in the points.
The Mexican driver secured Haas' first-ever Q3 berth in qualifying en route to claiming tenth on the grid, but a terrible start would see him circulating towards the back of the field for the initial laps.
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Recovering to 13th position, the disappointing result extends Gutierrez's non-scoring streak in 2016, the 25 year-old still yet to get off the mark after 14 events.
It comes as Gutierrez faces increasing pressure over his drive at Haas, with Steiner admitting his Monza flop is 'not perfect timing' for his prospects.
“It's not perfect timing, we all know that,” the Haas team principal said. “I don't think we put that kind of pressure onto him. It's not like 'if you do this, you get this'. It's a negotiation point. The driver market is moving but the drivers are moving out of it!”
Indeed, Steiner feels an element of self-imposed pressure got the better of Gutierrez when it mattered, particularly given the increasing competitiveness of the mid-field.
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“I guess [sic] the pressure got to him, or something. But it's a missed opportunity for us but also for him, the team. These positions they are hard to fight for because the field is quite set now. We dstanced ourselves from the guys behind us and we fought against McLaren – it's McLaren-Honda, it's a big team, so we can be proud of that.
“There are five teams ahead of us that are very good and if nothing happens to them it's difficult to go into there. I think we had a small chance to finish tenth and beat the Force Indias but if and when doesn't give you any points.”
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