Romain Grosjean’s fifth on the grid in Suzuka marks the tenth consecutive time the Frenchman has made it into Q3. That’s the best qualifying streak of Grosjean’s career – and the Haas driver’s early-season struggles are starting to seem a long way away.
With conditions difficult to read in Q3, Grosjean managed to be on track at the right time to claim fifth on the grid and the prized ‘best of the rest’ title on a day when his team mate Kevin Magnussen could only manage 12th, while Force India – who had looked to be comfortably the strongest midfield team on Friday – only found the pace for eighth and 10th. And there was more good news for Grosjean, after he made it through the Q2 segment of qualifying on the harder soft tyre, which could provide him with a nice little tactical advantage in Sunday’s race.
“I think we’ve had a great weekend,” said a delighted Grosjean. “The Force India looked really strong yesterday and this morning. We made some set-up changes over lunch and when I went into quali, from the first lap I knew the car was fast.
“Then in Q2 we decided to go with the soft, which was a brave move – and we went through! Then Q3, I love those conditions – you know, when it’s one lap and the rain is coming, you have to just do it right and get it right. Here in Suzuka, low fuel, flat out – it’s just an incredible circuit.”