KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) - Haas F1 Team pit notes: The Kannapolis based Haas F1 Team was hoping for a better finish on its "home track" in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished 14th and 16th, respectively in the race. The duo put forth a tenacious drive in the team's home race, with the outcome not indicative of the effort.
"Obviously, a tough weekend for the whole team," said Team Principal Guenther Steiner. "We were just not fast enough. We had every issue you can have. I think it went over the whole weekend, but today we had hoped to get something back and we didn't. We regroup, try to get better and get back to where we were a few races ago."
Grosjean started 12th and ran as high as ninth from laps 15 to 16. Magnussen started 17th and also worked his way up the leaderboard, earning his best running position of 11th from laps 30 to 31.
Both drivers went into the race with a one-stop strategy, although Magnussen's came much earlier than planned. He suffered a left-front tire puncture on the opening lap after contact with the Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein. Forced to pit, Magnussen changed from the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires he started the race with to Yellow softs. With only one lap on the supersofts, Magnussen would try to make his softs last the remaining 55 laps.
Grosjean made his scheduled stop on lap 16, swapping his Purple ultrasofts for a set of Yellow softs.
Their timely stops combined with the attrition of others allowed Grosjean and Magnussen to gain positions. Grosjean cracked the top-10 on lap 15 and Magnussen rallied from 20th after his early pit stop.
The strategy that allowed both drivers to gain so much track position meant they had to squeeze all the performance from their tires. And with 17 laps remaining, it was clear the well was nearly dry.
Williams driver Felipe Massa caught Grosjean on lap 39 and passed him for 10th. Magnussen, meanwhile, had fallen to 13th.
Seven laps later and with the leaders bearing down on him, Magnussen was spun by the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson in turn 12. The incident dropped Magnussen to 16th and with no one left to overtake him, he pitted for a new set of supersofts that would take him to the checkered flag.
While the finish was still a little ways off, the tires on Grosjean's car were finished. He fell to 14th in the waning laps as he nursed his Haas VF-17 to the race's conclusion.
"Not much pace in the car, and massive tire degradation on my front-left tire," said Grosjean. "I was trying to hang in there, but the last few laps I felt it was pretty dangerous. Off track the weekend's been great with the fans. I'm very sorry we couldn't put on a better show from the team. We're all going to work hard. We know Mexico was tough on us last year but, hopefully, we find some solutions. We're going to work hard, but right now it's disappointing not to put on a better show at home."
Winning the United States Grand Prix from the pole was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver scored his 62nd career Formula One victory, his ninth of the season and second in a row. It was his fifth win at COTA and fourth straight. Hamilton has won all but one United States Grand Prix at COTA – 2013 when Sebastian Vettel proved victorious while racing for Red Bull. Hamilton's margin of victory in this year's contest was a whopping 10.143 seconds over Vettel, who now drives for Scuderia Ferrari. The triumph further strengthened Hamilton's grip on the championship standings, as he holds a commanding 66-point advantage over Vettel, his nearest rival.
Seventeen rounds into the 20-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team is eighth in the constructors standings with 43 points, five points behind seventh-place Renault and 10 points behind sixth-place Toro Rosso. A 20-point cushion over ninth-place McLaren remains. Grosjean is 13th in the championship standings with 28 points and Magnussen is 14th with 15 points.
Only three races are left in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship, with the next event being the Mexican Grand Prix Oct. 27-29 at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.