Grosjean bounces back from brake-by-wire issue for top ten start

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
© XPB 

Romain Grosjean was delighted to make it through to the final top ten pole shoot-out in Saturday's qualifying session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

While all the attention in pit lane was on Red Bull's efforts to rebuild Daniel Ricciardo's car, the Haas mechanics were having their own fight against time.

Grosjean missed almost all of final practice on Saturday morning after his VF-18 suffered a technical problem that required extensive repairs.

"We were already happy just to get him out in time for qualifying," noted Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.

"We had the issue in FP3 with the brake-by-wire. It was a good job from the team to get the car ready again

"There was a lot of work on the car," Grosjean admitted. "This morning, we had our problem and the team did an amazing job to put the car back together.

"The engineers changed quite a lot on the setup last night to give me a better feeling in the car, which was great to have today," he added. "So I’m really pleased with all of that."

Despite his lack of running time in FP3, Grosjean sparkled in Q1 when he finished fifth place, faster than Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

He was only one place down on that in the second round, before ultimately finishing tenth fastest in Q3.

"I was very pleased to get through to Q3 [but] our position in Q3 is not ideal," he admitted. "On the last lap, we didn’t have the grip we had earlier on in the session.

"We just need to analyse that and make sure we understand why."

Grosjean's team mate Kevin Magnussen narrowly missed out on progressing to the final round of qualifying. He will start Sunday's race one row behind, from 11th place.

“It’s a little bit disappointing to not progress into Q3," the Dane admitted. "I had a bad out lap.

"With these tyres, at this track, it’s a very narrow window to get them to work," he explained. "If you don’t hook it up perfectly on the warmup, you lose a lot of performance. On top of that, it wasn’t a perfect lap.

"I think P11 is perhaps not so bad a qualifying position," he suggested. "We have a free choice of tyre to start the race, so that’s a bonus."

Magnussen is expected to start the race on the soft tyres.Grosjean meanwhile set his fastest lap in Q2 on ultrasofts which is the set he will be on when he lines up on the grid.

Although faster at the start, the purple-marked compound is very short-lived - meaning Magnussen will likely have the upper hand on his team mate and a shot at cracking the top ten.

"The car is pretty good," he said. "If we can hook it up tomorrow and have a good race, I’m sure we can score some points."

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