Haas F1 Team earned another point-paying result when driver Romain Grosjean finished 10th in the Spanish Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. It was nearly a double-points effort for the American outfit, as teammate Kevin Magnussen ran among the top-10 before a cut tire on the penultimate lap forced him to pit. He finished 14th.
Both drivers made the most of the start when the typical chaos of turn one unfolded. With Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen making contact, along with Williams’ Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso coming together, Haas F1 Team’s drivers seized the opportunity.
Magnussen and Grosjean picked their way through the carnage to rise to eighth and 10th, respectively. After Magnussen left the grid in 11th and Grosjean in 14th, both drivers were suddenly in the top-10.
Joining them in the top-10 was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr., who twice mounted spirited charges on Magnussen – the first on lap four and the second on lap 10 – only for Magnussen to close the door each time.
Sainz remained sandwiched in ninth between eighth-place Magnussen and 10th-place Grosjean, even after Magnussen and Sainz pitted together on lap 13. Sainz made another attempt to get around Magnussen when he put his right-side tires in the grass as the duo came off the pit lane and onto the track. Again Magnussen remained out of reach.
With a new set of Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires on his Haas VF-17, Magnussen held steady and returned to eighth as pit stops cycled through, creating a two-second gap over Sainz by lap 26. Grosjean, meanwhile, was only a second behind Sainz in 10th after emulating Magnussen by pitting for used softs on lap 19.
The chance of a double-points finish began to unravel when the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) deployed on lap 33 for Stoffel Vandoorne’s stricken McLaren in turn one. Magnussen’s advantage over Sainz was gone and after making their final pit stops, Sainz emerged ahead of Magnussen. Grosjean pitted a lap later.
When the race went back to green on lap 37, Magnussen and Grosjean, each of whom were shod on new White medium tires, were 10th and 11th, respectively. Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who was on a single-stop strategy, was the other driver ahead of the two Haas F1 Team pilots.
A rare mechanical problem sidelined the front-running Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas on lap 39, allowing Magnussen to climb to ninth and Grosjean to return to 10th.
However, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was rising, and he passed Grosjean for position on lap 43, dropping Grosjean out of the top-10. Then on lap 65 of the 66-lap race Kvyat made contact with Magnussen, cutting the left-rear tire on Magnussen’s VF-17. Forced to the pits to make a quick change and finish the race, Magnussen dropped to 14th.
“It’s annoying." said Magnussen "We could’ve had the points with both cars, so it’s pretty disappointing. There was some contact there with Kvyat. I would’ve been fine, but I got a puncture from the contact. I gave it everything I had today. If we had finished in the points, that would’ve been a good result for us. I’m very disappointed not to do that.”
Grosjean inherited 10th, picking up a single point.
“Well, it’s good for the team to score a point, but a shame for Kevin with his puncture to lose P9." said Grosjean "I had a good start, then into turns one and two there were a lot of cars spinning. I had to go on the astroturf to avoid them. If that hadn’t been the case, I’d have been next to (Nico) Hulkenberg or in front of him and the race would’ve been different. The pace was there on the softs, but I was always into traffic. On mediums – I really struggled to get those tires to work. There’s a lot of work we can do. I was happier with the car today than yesterday, but still we have to work hard to get a good run home.”
Winning the Spanish Grand Prix was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. It was the Mercedes driver’s 55th career Formula One win, his second of the season and his second at Barcelona. Hamilton’s margin of victory was 3.490 seconds over Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The victory cut Vettel’s lead in the championship standings to six points with still 15 races remaining.
Five rounds into the 20-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team is eighth in the constructors standings with nine points, five behind seventh-place Renault and four ahead of ninth-place Sauber. Grosjean is 12th in the driver standings and Magnussen is 14th.
Formula One takes a weekend off before returning to action May 25-28 for the Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco.
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