Formula One Update: Haas F1 Makes Noise in the Desert. Rosberg wins again, too
The 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix was a coming out party. An opportunity to step out from behind the shadow and into the light of Formula One greatness. The successes in last month’s Australian Grand Prix was surpassed by a near-flawless performance in the desert.
No…I’m not talking about Nico Rosberg. Mercedes wins everything, and as much as I’m a Lewis Hamilton fanboy, it’s good to see Nico get his.
Forget AMG Petronas, I’m talking about the Haas Automation F1 team, from Kannapolis, North Carolina. With Romain Grosjean’s P5 finish, America is making a new name in Formula One racing. I think the Swiss driver summed it up best:
“This is the American dream. It is unbelievable. I said we had to manage our expectations after we finished sixth in Australia, but here we finished fifth. There’s still a lot of things we can do better, from pit stops to the setup of the car and so on but, for now, this one is for the guys. I looked at their faces last night and they were all very tired because of the amount of work we’re doing. This is a massive reward. Really, just unbelievable. In the race, I had a good feeling in the car. It was an aggressive strategy, but managing tires has always been my strength in the past. Knowing we had a softer compound for this racetrack was something I liked. The car was set up well for the supersoft tires and I had a fantastic race. The car has a very good baseline. Everything is working well. I don’t think I’ve ever been as high as fifth in the driver standings. This is the first time in my career, I can’t believe it.”
Grosjean executed four perfect passes during the race, two against Felipe Massa of Williams, and one on each Red Bull driver–Daniil Kyviat and Daniel Ricciardo. If you watched the race (and you should), it is easy to see that Haas F1 was the real story, bigger than Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari blowing a turbo before the race started. Grosjean’s P5 on the heels of a P6 at the Australian Grand Prix was more impactful than Lewis Hamilton getting off to a bad start (again), then getting his wing run over by Valeri Bottas. Haas F1 Racing is the Formula One story for 216, so far.
After 2 races Haas Automation finds themselves in 5th place for the Constructor’s Cup, the prize for the best car. If they can just get teammate Esteban Gutierrez to finish a race, they’d be ahead of some big names in Formula One, like Williams Racing.
In non-Haas F1 Racing news, AMG Petronas won again, with Nico Rosberg taking the top podium spot for the second time in 2016. More importantly, Rosberg has won his last 5 Formula One races. It is as if Lewis Hamilton is either taking some mental time off, or Rosberg is stepping up to say 2016 will be his year. More from the Silver Arrows team:
Wow, what a weekend! I am so happy with how everything is working out at the moment. The start was definitely the key to my win – and that was a really great moment, as it was an area that we put a lot effort into before the race. Leading into Turn One was a relief, to be honest, as I could see in my mirrors that it was very busy behind me. But from then on I was able to control the pace and take the win. Strategy-wise we had to play it safe. It maybe wasn’t the quickest option – but we had to cover the risk of a safety car. It was an almost perfect weekend for me – only qualifying could have been a fraction better. What a great start to the season – a big thank you to the guys and girls at the factories for this amazing car! Now I look forward to China, where I won my first ever Grand Prix, so I have plenty of positive energy heading there.
I didn’t get a good start today – but it actually wasn’t as bad as the last one. They were completely different incidents – both painful, but this one probably more so! In Melbourne I had loads of wheel spin but this time I just didn’t get away as well as I needed to and that was down to me. If you start on pole and go backwards it quickly becomes a domino effect. It’s so easy to get clipped from there and unfortunately that’s what happened at Turn One. Nonetheless, I managed to climb back up there and at least get some points, so again it was good damage limitation. I could easily have not finished the race, so I’m glad it wasn’t more points dropped in the end. I had so much damage on the car that I couldn’t keep up with Kimi. I was fighting hard and did what I could with it – but it wasn’t quite enough to catch him, so in the end I had to just save the tyres in case of a safety car. A big thank you to all the fans who came out this weekend. I’ve got some incredible support here. I’ve been so well taken care of, so I look forward to coming back next year. Now I’ve got to wait until China for the next battle – but it’s a track that has been good to me for many years, so hopefully things will turn around a bit for me there.
Watch for more from Haas F1 at the Chinese Grand Prix, coming up on April 17, 2016.Click here for reuse options!
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