The qualifying pace of Haas F1 in Australia may have been a surprise to some but I’ll admit, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. At the same crime scene 12 months ago, they claimed their very first Constructor’s Championship points in the team’s maiden grand prix.
This year, Dallara, while not completely jazzed about the new regulations, worked hard to make a competitive chassis and simply looking at the two tenths that separate the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton; one can assume that Haas F1’s Ferrari engine flatters the chassis.
“The Haas was a surprise and well done to them,” said Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.
“We hadn’t seen it coming because Romain didn’t get a great lap in Q2.”
Grosjean said he had not expected to do as well as he did and if his teammate, Kevin Magnussen’s performance was any early indicator, then perhaps it is surprising but I was expecting no less, if I’m honest.
“Some of the guys were optimistic,” Grosjean said. “Things were not really going the way I wanted.
“The first lap I did here, I felt the car was better and the first run was good so we can build from there
“From seventh realistically, because [Daniel] Ricciardo went out, to 14th is pretty tight.
“It is going to be intense.”
These first races will be very important for Haas F!, just as they were last season, for scoring points and they need to make the most of it. This is why Kevin Magnussen needs to up his game on Sunday. Points are on offer, Haas F1 must capitalize.
The bigger surprise, for me, isn’t Haas F1’s pace in the hands of Grosjean but the lack of pace of the Williams F1 in the hand of veteran Felipe Massa.
“I was a little bit surprised because I was in front of him in Q1 and Q2,” said Massa.
“Maybe I expected to be a little bit better, like I was in Barcelona.
“Maybe we could have gone one tenth quicker, but not fourth tenths.”
That doesn’t bode well for the team but the equalizer is that Force India didn’t have a great qualifying session either. Could Haas F1 be poised to mix it up with Williams and Force India this season? If so, now that will be surprising to me.
Hat Tip: Autosport