Romain Grosjean admitted that he was surprised to match his best Formula 1 qualifying result of the season in Brazil on Saturday, securing seventh on the grid for Haas.
Grosjean has led NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ F1 operation through 2016, scoring all 29 of its points during its debut season.
The Frenchman has endured a rough patch of form, scoring just one point in the last 10 races, but managed to buck his recent trend in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix by finishing seventh, equalling his result at Suzuka last month.
“It’s good to be back in Q3, especially after the last two races where we were out in Q1 and really struggling,” Grosjean said.
“Here we’ve been trying some new brakes, focusing on making them work as well as we could. The feeling was good right from the beginning and the cooler track conditions today really helped us a lot.
“There are still plenty of margins to improve for the future. We’re always learning more about what we need to do, but we really weren’t expecting to be in Q3 today.
“Generally though, when we do get things working well together, we’re quite fast, which is encouraging.”
Teammate Esteban Gutierrez was unable to match Grosjean’s pace, dropping out in Q2 and qualifying 12th overall.
“It’s been quite a competitive qualifying session with the lap times being very close,” Gutierrez said.
“We just missed out on Q3, but it’s great that our performance is back after two weekends where we were struggling.
“We can now be optimistic for the race tomorrow. I’ll be aiming for the points. We’re aware of what we need to do and that’s what I’ll be targeting.”