Romain Grosjean felt a first top ten starting position since the British Grand Prix was on for Haas during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix before his heavy crash in the first session.

The French driver saw his qualifying prematurely halted in Q1 when he crashed going through the Suzuka Esses which left him stranded in 16th place but with grid penalties for Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer he has jumped up to 13th on the starting grid.

Grosjean says a potential car set-up issue could be the cause behind his crash after losing grip into turn three before spinning off on the switchback and crashing at turn four which forced a red flag stoppage.

The Haas driver – who sustained a 15G impact in the crash which is his second in as many race weekends after his FP1 shunt in Malaysia – felt a potential top ten qualifying position was on thanks to the pace of his car coupled with the grid penalties served by those ahead of him.

“I think clearly the top ten was very, very possible today,” Grosjean said. “From FP3 to qualifying I think we made a really good choice technically, the car felt really nice on the first run. I had a massive moment at Turn 11 and lost more than 0.5s, so I wasn’t worried that we would go through.

“I came back in the garage, did a tiny bit of front wing and went again and already had a big snap at Turn 1, didn’t really know where it came from, and I can’t going and went into Turn 3 and by the time I went into Turn 3 I just lost the rear. Then I was trying to recover but it was too late.

“It’s not crystal clear, yes I pushed a bit more but we are talking little compared to the handling difference.

“It was a 15g impact. There isn’t much room in sector one, which makes it sexy and nice but when you lose it you know that you are going to be in the wall very quickly.”

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