Romain Grosjean found Haas’ late struggles in the Belgian Grand Prix “very upsetting” after falling from sixth in the opening stint to 13th by the chequered flag.

Grosjean had been on course for Haas’ best result of the season as the team looked to recover from its ongoing struggles in understanding the VF-19 car, sitting P6 throughout the first stint of the race.

The Frenchman switched to Medium tyres for the second stint, after which he got stuck behind early-stopper Daniel Ricciardo before losing pace, struggling to keep back a number of drivers who were able to sweep past on the Kemmel Straight.

Grosjean ultimately faded to 13th at the finish, more than 20 seconds off the points-paying positions.

“The pace was good. The car felt actually really good, to my surprise,” Grosjean said.

“I was very happy in the first few laps. I managed to follow [Lando] Norris. [Sergio] Perez was slightly coming back but not that much. I extended the first stint, and then we fitted the Medium and the car was even better.

“I pulled a gap and was like ‘this is going very well’, then I ended up behind Daniel. He was obviously doing his race, but we had no top speed.

“The feeling is very hard because it’s one of those days you think you’ve been driving really well, done your best, and the car works well, there’s not much you can do.

“I don’t know, it’s just very upsetting.”

Grosjean requested that Haas retire the car in the closing stages of the race, but conceded afterwards that it was the right decision to stay out.

“It was just hard feeling. Obviously those engines have got to do a lot of races so I just asked if you want to save the engine a bit for future races,” Grosjean said.

“We’re always limited in mileage for free practice, so if we can save something, great.

“But it was the right call to finish the race.”