Romain Grosjean’s difficult Singapore Grand Prix weekend continued on Saturday when he crashed out during the second stage of qualifying at Marina Bay.
The Haas Formula 1 Team arrived in Singapore hopeful of scoring its first points since the Austrian Grand Prix after applying a raft of upgrades to the VF-16 car.
Grosjean struggled throughout practice, calling yesterday’s running “the worst Friday you could imagine” after completing just 14 laps.
The Frenchman made it through to Q2 on Saturday, only to crash out while on his final lap, finishing 15th overall.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Grosjean told NBCSN after the session.
“Yesterday we had issues. Spun yesterday and crashed, and again just now. There’s something weird in the car.
“Only so much you can do when you’re at 60 per cent of the car. Weird all weekend long.”
Grosjean will start behind Haas teammate Esteban Gutierrez, the Mexican qualifying 14th on Saturday. However, he felt that a top-10 berth was within reach had his final run not been scratched due to yellow flags for Grosjean’s crash.
“Qualifying was very frustrating. It was a missed opportunity,” Gutierrez said.
“I was preparing myself for that lap and I believe I would’ve had the opportunity to fight for Q3 if I could’ve completed it.
“We were really unlucky today. However, I’ll take the feeling I experienced during the first part of the lap into tomorrow for the race.”
The Singapore Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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