Haas F1 Team, the first American Formula One team in 30 years, came away with a point-paying result in its first race in America care of Romain Grosjean.
In his 100th Formula One start, Grosjean drove his Haas VF-16 to a 10th-place finish in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. It was Grosjean’s fifth point-paying result this season and his first since the July 3 Austrian Grand Prix where he finished seventh.
Grosjean got a good jump when the race went green, advancing from his 17th-place starting spot to 14th on the first lap. His teammate, Esteban Gutiérrez, started 14th and also made his presence known by rising to 10th.
Gutiérrez engaged in a spirited duel with McLaren’s Jenson Button on lap three that saw them trade 10th place before Button eventually emerged on top. Grosjean, meanwhile, continued his charge to the front, and after five laps he was directly behind Gutiérrez in 12th.
Grosjean passed his teammate for 11th on lap seven as they entered turn 12 and held the spot until his first pit stop at the end of lap 10. A set of new Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires replaced the Red supersofts he used to start the race and Grosjean quickly resumed his attack. He passed the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kyvatt for 12th on lap 22 and then gave chase to the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Grosjean made his second and final pit stop at the end of lap 27 for a new set of White medium tires that would carry him to the end of the race. Quick work by the crew allowed Grosjean to maintain his 12th-place standing.
Soon, preparation met opportunity. When the Red Bull of Max Verstappen dropped out of the race on lap 29, Grosjean moved up to 11th. And when Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari retired on lap 39, Grosjean inherited 10th. It was a spot Grosjean would not relinquish.
While Grosjean enjoyed a strong run in the United States Grand Prix, Gutiérrez’s run was cut short after 16 laps around the 5.513-kilometer (3.426-mile), 20-turn circuit. A left-front brake failure sidelined his promising drive and left him instead with a 21st-place finish.
Lewis Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix to collect his milestone 50th Formula One victory. It was also his seventh win this season and his fourth victory in the five Formula One races held at Circuit of the Americas. Hamilton’s margin of victory was 4.520 seconds over his Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. The victory cut Rosberg’s advantage from 33 points to 26 points with only three races remaining.
Eighteen rounds into the 21-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team remains eighth in the constructor standings with 29 points. Seventh-place Toro Rosso widened its gap on the American squad to 26 points, as Carlos Sainz Jr. finished sixth in the United States Grand Prix. But the point scored by Grosjean allowed Haas F1 Team to further distance itself from ninth-place Renault, as the works team did not finish in the points. Haas F1 Team’s margin is now 21 points over Renault.
Three races remain on the 2016 Formula One schedule, with the series heading to Gutiérrez’s home race next week – the Mexican Grand Prix Oct. 30 at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City.
“It didn’t go too badly today. It was a bit of a messy first lap, but I managed to get through everything. Then we went with an aggressive strategy trying to go for it. That worked out pretty well, so I’m happy with that. We were lucky that a few cars retired in front of us but, in the end, we needed to finish the race. It’s great to score a point in front of our home crowd. I’m very pleased with that and for the guys, as well. It’s been a long time since we scored. It’s obviously a great thing to be able to score points at the end of the season.”
“Quite a disappointing home race. I really want to thank everyone for all of their unconditional support as we really wanted a better result here in Austin. It all started well, optimizing everything we had in qualifying, and we got off to a great start in the race. The first stint was very strong and we managed to get into the top-10, fighting hard and pushing to the maximum. Unfortunately, a brake problem ended our race. It’s not what we wanted or expected to happen, but we need to continue working very hard as we head to Mexico.”
Half a happy ending to a tough U.S Grand Prix. Romain in the points is fantastic, especially from where we started and how we were struggling at the beginning of the weekend. Very unfortunate race for Esteban. He was doing a good job when he experienced a brake disc failure again. We’ll be investigating what happened and see how we can move forward and sort these problems out, as they are not acceptable. Romain couldn’t race any better with the car we had, so congrats to him. The strategy, which the guys worked on overnight, was just right and it certainly paid off. The team worked hard and really pulled together. We had a difficult Friday and Saturday but we don’t give up. We are racers.”