RESULTS: Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying results
Romain Grosjean says he is delighted with his best qualifying performance of the season in eighth ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix even if he was particularly unlucky not to secure a spot on the third row.
On a weekend that has seen the Frenchman air his frustrations at his Haas car – namely the brakes -, the decision to fit a new front-wing in FP3 went a long way to raising his form when it mattered come qualifying.
Making it through to Q3 for the first time since joining Haas, Grosjean went on to qualify in eighth position despite losing a few hundredths through the loss of DRS on the one and only run.
Gallingly for the Frenchman, that was enough to cost him sixth on the grid having equalled Sergio Perez on lap time, only to be placed behind on count-back, before Sebastian Vettel's grid penalty bumped the Mexican up another spot.
Despite this, Grosjean was delighted with the outcome and is confident it will be a precursor to a return to the points for the Haas outfit.
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“It's a great performance again, behind the scenes there's a lot of things we can improve and do better to go faster, but when we put the car together and we have all the parts staying together and things working it's a great performance.
“The DRS didn't work. There's been a small glitch in the setup in between the upshift and my DRS and that cost me three or four hundredths just in the straight line, which was enough to be in front of Perez and start sixth in the race. It was a good lap, it wasn't as hard as Q2 because we had only one attempt and you just don't want to go straight into Turn 1, but generally I got it right when I needed to.”
A positive result after a series of frustrations with the VF16 in recent races, Grosjean says qualifying showed what Haas is capable of with a clean run.
“I said there's a lot of things for the future we can do to get better, but generally for a long time I've said when we put the things together it's going to be there. We did it today even though there's a few things that could have been better, but yeah we've got the car that I like. More or less. Not very happy with the brakes, the tyres are very complicated to drive, obviously from last year it changed quite a lot, and if you are aggressive on your driving style the front just washes out.
“Normally it's the rear now we need to manage the front as well, and when you really want to push hard on the tyres like I like to do, in the front going into a corner aggressively they go, so that's not ideal to work around.”
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