Romain Grosjean said he was encouraged by the set-up changes made to his Haas before he went off at turn three during qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“We struggled a little [in final practice] this morning,” said Grosjean. “The wind changed and caught me once in turn 16.
“I think the pace was actually pretty good and then I was going to go out on track again. [But] we got the red flag at the wrong time. We made a set-up change that took longer than it should and then we were going to go out and we got the red flag so obviously we didn’t learn a thing on that second run.”
Grosjean only made it as far as turn three on his flying lap in qualifying before he went off. “From the two corners I made in quali I think we made an improvement. I’m pretty hopeful for the race.”
He admitted he went off due to his own mistake and only then discovered the gear selection problem which kept him from continuing in the session. “As soon as I hit the brake I locked the front. I was not taking any risks, I thought I’d just go straight, reverse and come back on track. It didn’t go according to plan.”
Grosjean, who is yet to score a point this season, will start Sunday’s race from last on the grid. He said his setbacks this year have been “just bad luck.”
“We had the engine down on power in qualifying in Melbourne, then the pit stop. And then Bahrain in the race was going really good and we lost half the car underneath – if it had been on the side I would have carried on, it would have been absolutely fine, but it went underneath. In China we got the Safety Car at the wrong time and we took fire in FP3, so I didn’t do FP3, and we went into qualifying [not knowing] what to expect.
“And here again losing the hydraulic pressure reversing the car. If you put it all together it’s quite incredible the amount of bad luck I’ve had.”