For the third straight race in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship, Haas F1 Team earned a point-paying result when Romain Grosjean finished 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Teammate Kevin Magnussen augmented the effort with a tenacious 12th-place drive after starting 18th in the 20-car field.
The start of the Canadian Grand Prix was a wild one, with the Toro Rosso of 13th-place starter Carlos Sainz Jr. cutting across the nose of Grosjean’s Haas VF-17 as the field entered turn three of the 4.361-kilometer (2.710-mile), 14-turn track. This forced Grosjean to put his right-side tires on the grass, and as he worked to get back onto the asphalt, contact with Sainz was made. Sainz shot across turn three and collected the Williams of Felipe Massa.
Grosjean headed to the pits for a new nose wing and a switch from the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire to the slightly more durable Red supersoft. While the pit stop was early, the team kept Grosjean on its planned one-stop strategy, forcing Grosjean to manage the set of supersofts for the remainder of the 70-lap race.
As Grosjean emerged for the lap-five restart in 16th position, Magnussen benefitted from the misfortune of others, rising to 12th. And on lap 11 when the Red Bull of Max Verstappen pulled off the track with a mechanical issue, Magnussen picked up 11th and Grosjean rose to 15th.
Soon, pit stops began jumbling the running order, with Magnussen rising to as high as eighth and Grosjean climbing to 14th. Magnussen, however, earned one of those positions by passing the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne during a Virtual Safety Car period. This earned Magnussen a five-second penalty, which would be served during his eventual pit stop.
Magnussen finally pitted on lap 46, swapping the well-worn Red supersofts he used to start the race for a new set of Purple ultrasofts. But with Magnussen serving his five-second penalty, he returned to the race in 15th.
Grosjean, meanwhile, had steadily worked his way to 12th, and with more than 20 laps left in the race, opportunity remained.
When Daniil Kvyat brought his Toro Rosso to the pits on lap 53 for what ended up being a terminal problem, Grosjean and Magnussen moved up to 11th and 14th, respectively.
Grosjean was holding steady in 11th, with 10th-place Fernando Alonso well ahead in his McLaren. Magnussen was still in attack mode, and he passed Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson for 13th on lap 56.
It appeared that 11th and 13th would be Haas F1 Team’s finish in the Canadian Grand Prix. But on the penultimate lap, Alonso slowed with a mechanical problem, handing 10th to Grosjean and 12th to Magnussen.
Winning the Canadian Grand Prix from the pole was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. It was the Mercedes driver’s 56th career Formula One win, his third of the season and his sixth at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Hamilton’s margin of victory was a whopping 19.783 seconds over his teammate Valtteri Bottas. The victory served as a major boost to Hamilton’s championship aspirations, as he cut 13 points off the lead held by Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Vettel came into Montreal with a 25-point lead over Hamilton and leaves with just a 12-point margin.
Seven rounds into the 20-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team is eighth in the constructors standings with 15 points. Seventh-place Renault is just three points ahead and ninth-place Sauber is 11 points back. Grosjean and Magnussen are 12th and 13th, respectively, in the driver standings. Grosjean has 10 points and Magnussen has five.
Formula One takes a weekend off before returning to action June 23-25 for the European Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“Well, our race started very badly with the front wing change on the first lap. Then we knew the only way to get a decent strategy was to stay out and make those tires last for 69 laps, which is pretty good for supersofts. We got there. I am very unhappy with Carlos’ (Sainz) maneuver at the start – what he did to me going into turn three. It was very, very dangerous. I’m glad the car didn’t have too much damage. We changed the front wing and got going again. It was a tough race. We needed a bit of luck at the end, which we got with Alonso retiring, and we managed to get a point. It’s great for the team, but we missed a bit of speed today.”
“With regard to the penalty, I went on power anticipating the end of the Virtual Safety Car, and I thought I’d probably passed him (Vandoorne) before it ended. I wasn’t sure, but I let him past anyway before passing him again at the next corner. Normally, when you give back the position, that’s fine. I gave it back, and then overtook him straight away. He was in front and he had every chance to be in the position he was before the Virtual Safety Car. I feel it’s very unfair the judgement from the stewards. These things happen. My shot at points was over. I fought very hard and had a good start. The opposite strategy didn’t work, but we were still there. It hasn’t been my weekend but, hopefully, it will turn soon.”