Haas know that they’ve got a big job on their hands to overcome fourth-placed Renault’s 30-point advantage in the constructors’ standings with two races to go in 2018. But they’re well placed to give it a good go in Brazil, after Romain Grosjean ended Friday’s running at Interlagos having been ‘best of the rest’ in P7 across both free practice sessions.
The performance gave the Frenchman hopes of having an ‘Austria-type weekend’ in Brazil – a reference to the team’s sterling performance at the Austrian Grand Prix this year, which saw Grosjean and team mate Magnussen finishing fourth and fifth to net Haas 22 points in the constructors’ standings on a day when Renault failed to score.
Should precisely the same scenario play out in Brazil, Haas would close to within eight points of Renault heading to the final Grand Prix weekend of the year in Abu Dhabi. And the signs were looking good for the team after the first day of running at Interlagos, with neither Carlos Sainz or Nico Hulkenberg – who crashed heavily in FP2 – able to break into the top 10 for Renault during Friday’s running.
“I think the car worked pretty well here,” said Grosjean. “It was good to be, both sessions, best of the rest, so happy with that.
“I don’t know if [Renault have] got the pace to match us [here] but they’ve got a big cushion of an advantage. 30 points is a long way to go. It’s not impossible, especially if it’s a bit of a crazy race. But we’ll do our best. We won’t give up until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s been an interesting season,” added Grosjean. “Fifth in our third year in Formula 1 is incredible. Fourth is our target but we need to stay realistic and do our best. But we’ll give everything and if we can have an Austria-type weekend, there’ll be only eight points between us.”