Grosjean reflects on ‘worst Friday’ of 2019 at home Grand Prix
As Romain Grosjean headed out on track for the first time during the 2019 French Grand Prix weekend, he took time to wave to his home fans as he made his way slowly around the Circuit Paul Ricard. Unfortunately, that was about as enjoyable as his day got, with a water leak and balance issues leaving the Haas driver well off the pace come Friday evening.
The water leak was diagnosed in Free Practice 1, leaving Grosjean to complete just nine laps before rolling down his overalls and going to sit on the Haas pit wall as a session spectator. Then when he finally made it out in Free Practice 2, a huge lock-up early on in the session destroyed one of his two sets of hard tyres – which appeared to be performing well in the French heat – with Grosjean eventually finishing FP2 in P17, over eight-tenths adrift of team mate Kevin Magnussen’s tenth-placed time.
“I think it’s probably our worst Friday of the year,” said Grosjean at the end of FP2. “We didn’t start with the best baseline set-up and we could feel that in the first run [in FP1], then obviously we had the water leak so that was the end of FP1. And when you’re not starting with the car that was bang on target, it just puts you a little on the back foot, so that was not ideal.
“Then in FP2, we had that front lock in the first attempt, which is not really understandable at the minute. So the tyre was well damaged so we had to abort that run, although I tried as hard as I could to carry on because I knew I only had one set left after that.”
Magnussen’s P10 performance – with the Dane finishing 1.852s off the ultimate pace, but encouragingly ahead of both Renaults – will give the Haas team some optimism going into Saturday – while Grosjean also felt that he was starting to get a decent feeling in his VF-19 by the end of his FP2 long run...
“Going to the softs… the car balance was a bit off,” he said. "But I felt like by the end of the high-fuel [run on the softs] we got to a better place, so that’s a positive.”
Grosjean will be hoping that a turnaround of his Friday performance will allow him to take a decent haul of points in front on his home fans this weekend, with the Frenchman having scored just two of them so far in 2019, compared to the 14 taken by his team mate.