D Places 7 and 8 seemed set in stone for the Haas pilots. The US racing team was clearly the fourth fastest team in the field. No danger from behind, but also no chance to catch up with Pierre Gasly in 6th place. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen did their laps in tandem for a long time.
When Daniil Kvyat squeezed between the two US Ferraris on lap 36, things got restless at the Haas command post for the first time. Magnussen's medium tires lost temperature for a moment and the Toro Rosso was over.
In the safety car phase, the two Haas drivers got together again thanks to a clever strategy. Toro Rosso was looking for tires and lost a lot of time in a double stop. Haas split the two tire changes over two different laps during neutralization.
For the restart, Magnussen had his tires in the working window faster and was ready to attack. When the Dane and Grosjean turned into turn 1 in a parallel flight, the team held their breath. Grosjean had to move into the run-off zone. One lap later, the same game again.
Then the ultimate command came from the pit wall: “Stop it!” Meanwhile, the temperature in Grosjeans tires dropped so far that Carlos Sainz and Daniil also fell Kvyat benefited from it. The underbody of the number 8 car was also damaged.
Haas does not distribute any Guilt
Grosjean could be happy to win one point at all. He fended off an attack by the second Toro Rosso driver Alexander Albon twice. From the team's point of view, that was no consolation. Ironically, on the parade route of the car, there were only 7 points instead of 10.
Team boss Guenther Steiner buttoned his two hot heads straight after the TV interviews. TheThe conversation lasted a quarter of an hour. “I wanted Kevin and Romain to sort it out between themselves immediately. They shouldn't go home with resentment for one another. The two spoke up, they accepted that it wasn't ideal for the team, and that settled the matter. ”
For the two drivers at least. Not for the team. Steiner announced: 'Before we spread the blame here, let's first watch the videos and try to learn from them so that it doesn't happen again.'
Can he then guarantee that there will be no repetition? Steiner says no: “The two are racing drivers. They want to fight on the track and we don't want to slow them down. You just have to understand that there are limits. I think they did. It looked worse from the outside than it was. In the end we were lucky. We could have lost both cars, so we scored points with both of them. ”
Points for the best entertainment
Haas provided one of the few highlights in a monotonous race: 'I think that there should be extra points for the best entertainment,' joked Steiner. The team management is much more concerned about the next two races than his two hotheads.
Barcelona have demonstrated how good the car can be when the tires are in the working window. But the race also showed how quickly the black cars fall out again if the slightest thing happens. Both drivers had these moments.
The next two race tracks on the calendar are known for the fact that the tires have a hard time getting up to temperature. “Monte Carlo and Montreal will be a challenge for us,” Steiner admits. The only bright spot. Barcelona gave the engineers some insight into how the problem could also be solved on other racetracks.
One trick could be to rely on downforce regardless of losses. Even if you have to sacrifice air resistance for it. Just like Haas did in Spain. That is why the US racers were among the slowest cars on the straights, but were sometimes faster than them in the cornersFerrari. According to Steiner, the new set-up philosophy had one disadvantage: “In the race we were on the fair game. That's why Sainz and Kvyat got past Romain so easily. ”