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Grosjean leads Haas into Austria Q3 as suspension issue costs Magnussen

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Romain Grosjean led Haas’ charge during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday as a suspension issue cost Kevin Magnussen a chance to match his teammate’s Q3 run.

Grosjean finished just half a second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take seventh on the grid for Haas and score his best qualifying result since the opening race of the year in Australia.

The Frenchman was forced to stop his car on-track at the end of Q3 due to an electrical issue, inadvertently preventing his rivals from going any faster and shuffling him down the order.

After struggling for much of the season with recurring brake problems, the result offered Grosjean a boost as he bids to add to his points haul on Sunday.

“We’ve been quick all weekend, Kevin and I. We’ve both been pretty happy with the car,” Grosjean said.

“Unfortunately, Kevin had the suspension issue in Q1, otherwise I think he would’ve been up there with us. Inbetween Q1 and Q2 we found some performance. We had good grip in the car. I think we just lost an electric connection on the car at the end. I’m hoping it’s nothing more serious than that.

“It’s a long race tomorrow. It’s going to be tough on the brakes, tough on the engine and tough physically. It’s the second time this year though, after Melbourne, where I feel the tires are working well and I can really enjoy myself and push the car to the limit.”

Magnussen suffered a suspension failure during Q1 when running over the kerbs at Turn 3, and while his time was still good enough to get into Q2, he could take no part, resigning him to 15th in the final standings.

“We were looking good, so it’s really frustrating not getting the whole qualifying. It’s really unfortunate to break the rear suspension,” Magnussen said.

“It’s just bad luck. I think we could’ve gone on to Q3 today and had a really good chance of points tomorrow. Now it looks more difficult.

“We had been performing well all weekend. We had good pace and were in the top-10. I’m gutted not to get anything out of it.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.