Romain Grosjean believes that ninth place is the “perfect position” from which to start Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Haas Formula 1 Team became the first start-up operation to score points on debut in 14 years when Grosjean finished sixth in Australia two weeks ago.
The Frenchman followed this breakthrough result up by recording the team’s first top 10 qualifying result in F1 in Bahrain, finishing ninth in Saturday’s session.
Despite being knocked out of the Q3 slots late on by Nico Hulkenberg, Grosjean believes that ninth is actually a better position to start as it will give him a free choice of starting tire for Sunday’s race.
“I’m glad we’re not in Q3 actually. It’s a great place to start the race,” Grosjean told NBCSN.
“It’s higher than our own expectations. Talking with Guenther [Steiner, team principal] this is a big test for us. Tomorrow is a long race and difficult with the tire choices, but it’s possible to have a good time.”
All drivers that reach Q3 are required to start the race on the tire that they set their fastest Q2 lap on, while those starting ninth and lower can begin the grand prix on fresh rubber.
“I was keeping my fingers crossed to be out and be P9,” Grosjean admitted.
“So it’s the absolute perfect position, and a choice of tires.”
The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.