Grosjean delivered a composed drive from 19th on the grid in Australia, taking advantage of other driver’s pit stops to move up the order ahead of the red-flag stoppage before calmly absorbing pressure from Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in the second half of the race.
“Guys listen to me: this is a win for us, this is a win,” an emotional Grosjean said moments after taking the chequered flag. “Welcome to Formula One, Gene [Haas, team owner]. This is the day - this is history guys!”
Haas are the first brand-new team to score points on their Grand Prix debut since 2002 when Mika Salo finished sixth at Albert Park for Toyota.
“It feels like standing on the top step of podium,” Grosjean told UK F1 broadcaster Sky. “It’s been an amazing race and weekend. For all the guys, the work they have been doing, so much work, since day one I told the guys the car has huge potential - but we needed a good result to see if that was true.
“We have plenty of areas we can improve but this result is a huge morale and confidence boost.”
Grosjean also hailed the influence of the red flag – brought about when team mate Esteban Gutierrez clashed violently with Fernando Alonso – as being crucial to his result, as it enabled him to effectively make a 'free' pit stop and attempt a one-stopper.
“The key was the strategy, the red flag,” he said. “We had a pit stop and then stayed on those tyres to the end of the race. It wasn’t easy because we had no reference [of the medium compound] but we kind of got it right and made it work.”
Grosjean’s result means that Haas will leave Australia fifth in the constructors’ standings, four points behind Red Bull and two ahead of Force India.