Haas encouraged by progress in ‘bittersweet’ weekend

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Guenther Steiner has described Haas' Japanese Grand Prix weekend as “bittersweet” after narrowly missing out on points, but the team principal is pleased to see the US newcomers “getting better and not stagnating”.

After enduring challenging practice sessions at Suzuka, Haas managed to bounce back in qualifying as it placed its two cars in Q3 for the first time in its nascent F1 career.

However, both Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez slipped down the order during the race, with the Frenchman ultimately recording a seventh 11th-place finish for the American outfit this year.

“I’m not happy to finish 11th but I’m not unhappy with the performance of the team,” Steiner said. “The five good teams in front of us, with nobody dropping out, it’s logical.

“We took the fight to the Williams but we couldn’t pull it off because they had an advantage in their strategy with the tyres. I’m not complaining, it worked out for them but we were there, we were quicker than them but couldn’t overtake, very difficult to overtake here, so it’s bittersweet.”

Although Haas has yet to score since Austria, its team principal also took satisfaction from the squad's recovery from a tough race in Sepang, where both cars had retired with issues.

“Our plate was full after Malaysia to sort out the problems we had and also try to make the car quicker and get a better set-up. I think everyone worked hard and we achieved a lot in a very short time. So, again, that shows for me how the team is getting better.

“The encouraging thing is that if we keep on doing this we’re getting better and not stagnating,” Steiner added. “Already staying the same for us would be a good point, but we’re getting better.

“We know what the car can do, finishing seven times 11th is not that great. It’s not a great feeling, but the good thing is we know that we can do it and we keep on doing what we’re doing.”

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