Grosjean mystified by costly Q3 spin

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-18.
© XPB 

Romain Grosjean had been one of the consistent top performers in Saturday's qualifying session for the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Driving in front of his home fans, the Haas driver had been 'best of the rest' behind the Big Three teams throughout qualifying. He headed into Q3 with confidence of securing a good grid position for Sunday's race.

However, his first flying attempt in the top ten pole shoot-out ended in disaster when his car suddenly snapped into a spin early in the lap.

“I went into turn 3 and lost the rear end," he reported. "There’s no obvious reason, so we’ll investigate to understand a bit more.

"We’ll look at the data. I was pretty much doing as I was before, so it’s a bit strange. It’s frustrating."

Grosjean ended up in the tyre barrier at turn 4. Although the contact was light, it still meant that race control stopped the session while his car was retrieved. He played no further part in the session.

The red flag also proved costly to his team mate Kevin Magnussen, who had been forced to abort his own initial qualifying run. It was just the latest example of the streak of bad luck to hit the Haas F1 team this season.

"We haven’t had much luck since Australia," Grosjean acknowledged. "I was hoping this weekend would run smoothly, and that was the case. It’s not what we wanted.

"But there’s the race tomorrow, and we’re going to do our best to come back and get seventh, where we should have qualified."

Once the red flag was rescinded, Magnussen did finally get to complete his qualifying lap - only to meet a further setback on the way.

"I had Kimi [Räikkönen] overtake me on my fastest lap," the Dane reported. "Then he let me by again. I had no idea what he was doing. It meant I didn’t do a lap in Q3.

"We got both cars into Q3, but then we didn’t get anything out of the session," he sighed.

“What a day - again," agreed team boss Guenther Steiner. "We ended up with both cars in the top-10, but in Q3, for one reason or another, we only managed to qualify ninth and 10th.

"All in all, it’s not a bad result. But we should be seventh and eighth. I think the car is at that level, so tomorrow we have to make up spots at the start.”

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