Haas F1 Team rang up more points Sunday at the Red Bull Ring, marking the fourth time this season the first American-led Formula One team in 30 years has scored a point-paying result.
Romain Grosjean earned six points by finishing seventh in the Austrian Grand Prix and his teammate, Esteban Gutiérrez, continues to knock on the door of a point-paying finish, coming home 11th for the third time this season.
Grosjean employed a one-stop strategy for the 71-lap race around the 4.326-kilometer (2.688-mile) nine-turn circuit. After starting 13th on a set of Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires, Grosjean went 27 laps before pitting for a slightly used set of P Zero Yellow softs. Grosjean took advantage of the safety car period, which was for Sebastian Vettel’s front stretch crash. The Ferrari driver lost control while leading when his right-rear tire disintegrated, throwing rubber all over the track.
Grosjean emerged from the pits in ninth, but his time on pit road was a little too quick. Grosjean was caught speeding and he was assessed a five-second penalty that would be applied at the end of the race.
With the safety car period over, racing resumed in earnest on lap 32, whereupon Grosjean’s mirrors were filled with the Williams of Felipe Massa and the Force India of Sergio Perez. Grosjean held them both off and worked on creating a gap greater than five seconds over his nearest pursuer.
Aided by the attrition of others, Grosjean rose to seventh, and as the laps wound down, he methodically widened the gap between himself and eighth-place Perez. Shortly after creating a margin of more than five seconds over Perez, the Force India driver made the situation moot by crashing on the final lap. With the time penalty applied at the finish, Grosjean’s advantage over eighth-place Carlos Sainz Jr. was 2.732 seconds. Seventh place was all Grosjean’s, as were the six points that now have him 10th in the driver standings.
Gutiérrez, meanwhile, rallied to finish a respectable 11th. Despite starting in the same place he finished, Gutiérrez dropped to 18th following the run into the first corner on the first lap. Gutiérrez went 21 laps on the Red supersofts he started the race with before pitting for another new set of supersofts. After climbing to 15th, Gutiérrez pitted again on lap 41 for a slightly used set of Yellow softs. He returned to the track in 19th and during the final 30 laps, managed his tires and took advantage of others’ misfortune to climb back to 11th.
Grosjean’s seventh-place run combined with Gutiérrez’s 11th-place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix marks Haas F1 Team’s best collective result this season.
Nine rounds into the 21-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team remains eighth in the constructor standings, but the organization now has 28 points. It is four points behind seventh-place McLaren and 22 points ahead of ninth-place Renault.
Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix, but it came at a price as he tangled with his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg on the final lap. Hamilton went on to win his 46th career Formula One victory, his third this season and his first at the Red Bull Ring while Rosberg finished fourth. Hamilton crossed the stripe 5.719 seconds ahead of runner-up Max Verstappen. The victory tightened the championship battle between the Mercedes duo, as Hamilton lopped 13 points off Rosberg’s advantage. Rosberg continues to lead the driver standings, but his margin over Hamilton is now 11 points with more than half the Formula One schedule still remaining.
“It was a pretty good race. The first lap was not great. I was pushed out by another car and I lost quite a few positions. After that we stayed out on the supersofts, even though the tires were going away. I managed to pick up some pace and run well. The safety car came when we had planned our stop, so that helped a little bit. After that I was behind (Jensen) Button. I was trying to chase him and overtake him, but it was just too hard to follow another car and then be able to pass. The last few laps, I learned I had a five-second penalty, so I had to open the gap to the car behind. I really pushed it to one hundred percent every single lap, which was quite fun, but stressful as well. I didn’t want to go out. In the end it was Perez that went out, so it was all good for me.”
“It was a very difficult race from the start. Going on anti-stall, we lost a lot of ground. After that I was recovering, trying to do my best to fight all the way up to the front on a different strategy from what we had planned. In the end, the pace was pretty good. We were regaining positions and getting back to being in good shape, but we were struggling with grip. We ended up P11, very close to scoring points. It’s not great, but at least we fought all the way with what we had. I’ll keep pushing and focusing on the next race.”
Round 10 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit. Practice begins July 8, qualifying takes place July 9 and the race runs July 10.