- Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying
'Terrible first run in Q2' hampers Grosjean
Romain Grosjean said that "a terrible first run in Q2" prevented him from setting a competitive lap time in the final part of qualifying.
While Kimi Raikkonen lines up fourth on the grid, Grosjean is only tenth after not completing a flying lap in Q3. Having struggled on his first run in the second session, Grosjean was required to use another set of soft tyres to get through to the top ten shootout and he said he was disappointed not to be able to show the car's pace.
"I have mixed feelings after today's session," Grosjean said. "After struggling a bit yesterday it's great to have both cars in Q3, but unfortunately after a terrible first run in Q2 we were forced to use up all our new sets of soft tyres before the final session. This meant there was no point trying to set a competitive time in the pole position shoot out which is a real shame, as our pace in Q2 was good."
Having crashed out of both of the first two races very early, Grosjean admitted that he still had some work to do to get the most out of the car and hoped to be able to do so across a full race distance.
"I feel much more comfortable with the car and I think that shows in the lap times today. The team did a great job to turn things around and get us back towards the top where we should be. I still have some fine tuning to do but 56 laps in tomorrow's race will certainly help that!"
Director of trackside operations Alan Permane said that Grosjean was a match for Raikkonen but would need to improve his qualifying performance to be able to prove it.
"Romain's absolute pace is very similar to Kimi's but qualifying is hungry for tyres if you can't get the pace straight away. Kimi got through to Q3 with just one set of soft tyres, but Romain required three sets, meaning he then didn't have a fresh set for his Q3 lap. Romain's got the pace; we just need to unlock that pace on the hard tyre in a qualifying situation.
"As he didn't have a new set of soft tyres, it was always going to be a tough ask to get a blinding lap in the final session, especially as everyone else who got through to Q3 did have a new set. It was unrealistic to expect Romain to qualify higher than tenth in this scenario, but we sent him out anyway. We soon saw from the split times that there was no possibility we brought him in to save a lap on the tyres for the race."