Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished 12th and 13th, respectively, in the Canadian Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
While the result did not garner any points, it was impressive nonetheless for Grosjean, who started last in the 20-car field and climbed to as high as seventh in the 68-lap race around the 4.361-kilometer (2.710-mile), 14-turn track.
In fact, Grosjean ran the first 48 laps on a set of Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tires before finally pitting for a new set of Red supersofts. Grosjean stayed out longer than any other driver in the hopes of a full-course caution that would bring out either an actual safety car or the virtual safety car. It never came to be, and after wringing all that was available from his ultrasofts, Grosjean made his necessary pit stop. This dropped Grosjean to 12th, where he returned to the track in front of his teammate, Magnussen.
Magnussen started 11th, but lost a position on the start when Charles Leclerc successfully maneuvered his Sauber past Magnussen’s Haas VF-18. Magnussen held steady in 12th, particularly on lap five when Sergio Perez worked to collect his sideways Force India during a dicey moment in turn one. Magnussen later came under threat from the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, whose Pink hypersoft tires – the grippiest and fastest tire in Pirelli’s lineup – proved to be quicker than Magnussen’s ultrasofts. Gasly eventually got by Magnussen on lap nine, dropping him to 13th.
Soon, scheduled pit stops began, allowing Magnussen to climb to eighth before he made his own pit stop for supersofts on lap 22. This dropped Magnussen to 15th.
When Fernando Alonso was forced to retire his McLaren after 40 laps, Magnussen picked up 14th. And when Perez made his second and final pit stop on lap 44, Magnussen rose to 13th and later in the race held off Perez who ultimately finished 14th.
It was a gritty performance by both Haas F1 Team pilots in the seventh round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Romain Grosjean: We didn’t really know quite how long we could go. We had been planning to go long, but not as long as that. The tires were holding quite nicely. There was only a bit of front degradation. I was happy with the pace. I was easily managing keeping up with the Renault in front and the Force India behind. If qualifying had been as I was expecting with a P7, it would’ve been a P7 today, for sure. Anyway, we tried to come back, but our strategy didn’t quite work. When we came out of the pit we had a lot of blue flags and so on. I couldn’t really come back through the field. We did our best. The car is fast and I enjoyed driving it.”
Kevin Magnussen: Not a brilliant weekend for us. We were thinking that P11 in qualifying was a good result. We thought that would be an advantage for the race – being on a different tire from the top-10. It didn’t really turn out to be that way. I didn’t get a great first lap. I was overtaken by one of the Saubers. They had a really good start, and then a couple of laps after I had a Force India that spun and I couldn’t get on the inside, so I was on the outside and got done by Fernando (Alonso) on the inside. Things just didn’t go our way today. It’s a shame. I think the car was pretty good, especially on the supersoft, the pace was good. I think we just didn’t get it right today.”
Seven rounds into the 21-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team is tied with Toro Rosso for seventh in the constructors’ standings with 19 points apiece, nine points behind sixth-place Force India with a seven-point advantage over Sauber, their nearest pursuer.
The 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship resumes with the French Grand Prix June 24 at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.