Not for the first time in his Formula 1 career, Romain Grosjean is a man under pressure after a tumultuous 2018 season so far.
Haas have made an early impression on the paddock. The American based squad converted their excellent pre-season into a strong debut weekend, as Romain Grosjean took full advantage of a timely red flag to secure sixth place. Eight points already on the board for F1’s youngest team and their lightening start has certainly put pressure on Sauber and Manor as the teams who stand the most to lose should Haas continue to shine.
F1 finally has an American team back on the grid. Haas revealed the VF-16 this afternoon, their 2016 challenger and “Very First” F1 entry. An aesthetically pleasing livery, albeit another lacking the distinct colours which many fans are pleading for, as well as some interesting technical features mean that Haas have certainly turned heads on their first day in the spotlight.
Rosberg secures maiden hat-trick
Following a sublime sixth pole position in succession for Nico Rosberg, the championship runner-up carried his rich vein of form into the race, as he once again left Lewis Hamilton trailing home in second.
A position that the three time world champion has become all too familiar with since the crowning-glory of Austin and while his primary objective for the year may have been long secured, Rosberg has provided himself with the perfect launch-pad into the winter and the 2016 campaign beyond.
Vettel’s Title Hopes Dashed In Tyre Drama
Heading into Ferrari’s 900th Grand Prix, it seemed fitting to consider their lead driver’s hopes of a remarkable title turn-around in the second half of the campaign. The German started the day just 42 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton in the standings and on a high following a determined drive to victory in Hungary. However, the ambition of those who predicted a title charge was matched in a high risk strategy from Ferrari today which ultimately saw Vettel limp home in a dismal P12. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton made the perfect start and proceeded to enjoy what was an untroubled cruise to victory on a circuit which has been unkind to the Briton in the past.
Another Mercedes 1-2 on Sunday to couple their Saturday afternoon exploits, but the spice of unpredictability was a feature of the intense scrap behind, which culminated in a surprise podium appearance for Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.
Following a tortuous 2014 driving an E22 which was notoriously unpredictable, both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were hopeful that 2015 would see Enstone return to the upper echelon of the field. While the successor to last season’s twin-tusked machine is a marked improvement, the E23 is yet to show any of the race winning credentials that were possessed by the Lotus’ that propelled Kimi Raikkonen to his 19th and 20th career wins. This fact, combined with a heap of misfortune and occasional driver errors means that Lotus have a right to feel a touch disappointed with their points tally at the halfway mark.
After the first two rounds of the season, Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Malaysia has been the leading headline, as an unexpected challenger to Mercedes superiority has emerged. However, one of the most curious aspects of the fledgling season has been the stuttering start for Lotus. The E23 has promised so much, with a shiny new Mercedes powertrain providing some relief following last year’s dire performance, yet the team are yet to convert this new ingredient into a top ten finish – disconcertingly, a la 2014.