Romain Grosjean, Haas, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Grosjean warns drivers may try to avoid Q3

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Midfield drivers could try not to reach Q3 in order to avoid having to start the race on an old set of hyper-soft tyres, says Romain Grosjean.

They rapid degradation of the hyper-soft tyre caused problems for some drivers at the last race. Grosjean, who fell from eighth on the grid to 15th at the chequered flag, said starting on hyper-softs put him at a “massive disadvantage”.

“It was a rubbish situation to be qualifying between seventh and 10th and have to start on hyper-soft,” said Grosjean. “[It’s] a bit sad knowing P13 had an advantage on P7 on the grid.”

“I took it very, very slowly in the race, drove like a grandma trying to take care of the tyres. Five laps after the Safety Car or so they just went. So we had to pit and then eventually ended up in traffic.”

The hyper-soft tyre has been nominated again for this weekend’s race. “If here’s the same situation we’re not going to try to make it to Q3,” said Grosjean.

“And I don’t think that’s great for F1, the show or for ourselves either. Just thinking ‘oh I don’t want to make it to Q3’ it’s really a big disadvantage, what’s the point of making qualifying then?”

Nico Hulkenberg was the only who started between seventh and 10th and finished in the points, though he was passed by three drivers who failed to reach Q3 and were able to start on fresher tyres.

“I think it’s pretty clear and easy to see that starting on the hyper-soft strategy was definitely not the good strategy unless you’re in one of the top six cars,” he said.

“It just made life very hard: a very short first stint and then you had a massive second stint where you just had to do so much tyre saving and tyre management that it meant you had an overall much slower race.”

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  • 24 comments on “Grosjean warns drivers may try to avoid Q3”

    1. If they choose no to come out during Q2 it will be quite the flashback to indianapolis. Maybe that’s what F1 needs to understand that these tyres aren’t a good fit for racing

      1. Or midfield teams might use ultra in Q2 instead.

        1. That’s no fun

    2. Starting the race on a used set of the softest compound available shouldn’t be a problem on this circuit due to its low-deg nature, though.

      1. He is acting like the other cars around him aren’t in the same boat. How many other drivers last race started on the same used tires but didn’t drop 7 places by the finish? Haas is stuck with his complaints for another year good for them.

        1. If you only took a glance at the qualifying results and the race results, you would know that only Hulkenberg didn’t drop 7 places by the finish from the original p7-p10 starters. He came home where he started, which in reality means he couldn’t benefint from the drops of Perez, Grosjean and Ocon, but instead got jumped by Alonso, Sainz and Leclerc, all of whom started on fresher and harder compounds. Perez dropped even lower than Gro, and Ocon would have likely gone the same route, so no, it’s not just a complaint.

      2. @jerejj Crofty was saying that the teams think that the hypers will hardly last in the race, and the ultras won’t last the rest of the distance, but the softs will go to the end easily. So the theory is, they’ll have to pit earlier onto softs, and then get stuck behind the Williams’ like last week, so the guys qualifying 11th, 12th, and 13th will be in a great position to do the overcut and end up 7th, 8th and 9th.

    3. That’s why I hate the mandatory rules for tires on F1. And this looks much easier to fix, no need of millions of dollars from the teams.

    4. It is worth mentioning that the highest available grid position for the midfield drivers this race is p5, and not p7. The midfield looks especially competitive this weekend and qualifying even 11th would mean that 6 similarly fast cars start ahead of you instead of 4. I personally feel that trying to qualify 5th is a better choice.

      1. @neutronstar Yes, but the RBR-drivers are still going to climb through the field to take P5 and P6 if nothing happens to them (whether it’d be a DNF, or some problem, etc.,) meaning that P7 is still going to be the highest achievable position on pure pace for a driver from any team other than the top-3.

        1. @neutronstar ‘The highest achievable position in the race’

        2. @jerejj But that would also mean that starting 11th becomes equivalent to starting 13th. I’m not sure if settling for 13th is okay if you have the pace to go for 7th, especially considering the non-abrasive surface of this track. I don’t think tyre deg will be as bad here as in Singapore. Assuming that overtaking will be difficult and ideally a 2-second gap between each car starting from 7th to 13th one-third of the way through the race, if you’re the last in the train, you’ll be 12 seconds (realistically even more) behind 7th place and that will be hard to recover even if you go much longer in your first stint. I don’t think there’s much merit in Haas aiming for a 9th or 10th place finish given their points different to Renault.

          Also, however difficult overtaking will be here, it’s guaranteed to be easier than in Singapore so I’m not expecting traffic to be as problematic as it was there for drivers who pitted early.

          1. @neutronstar Agreed. Good points.

    5. Surely there isn’t enough deg at Sochi for it to matter this time no?

      1. Note to self. Read other comments first

    6. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      28th September 2018, 19:06

      But why use the Hypersoft in Q2 if you are not desperate to get into Q3.
      Put a set of super softs under your car and drive the max you can – if you make it to Q3 great – if not than good as well.

      1. @jelle-van-der-meer ‘A set of ultra-softs’ the super-soft wasn’t brought to this circuit.

    7. Nothing new. This is why Alonso has the most 11th place qualifyings of anyone this season. Poles hard, but going the exact speed to get 11th seems almost as tricky.

    8. I said it back when they were sitting out quali sessions before: if you don’t set a time, the driver with the next-fastest time in the previous session should be promoted above you. That is, if you sit out Q2 you don’t start 15th, you start 16th. If two drivers sit it out, they start 16th & 17th, in order of their Q1 times, with the 17th- & 18th-placed drivers from Q1 promoted to 14th and 15th, also in order. Same with Q3, with the addition of starting on your Q2 tyre choice.

      1. Which is why no one actually sits out a qualifying session with a working car, they always run to put a time on the board, even though it often is slower than the time from the previous session. This also helps if one of the other drivers bins the car in the session without setting a time – they’ll end up behind you by virtue of that.

    9. Dang it. I meant the 16th & 17th Q1 drivers get promoted, obviously. It’s complicated to describe, but pretty simple in principle really.

    10. He’s right but this is nothing new. Drivers have been vocal on the radio and excited about winning the prized 11th position in the past.

    11. I think they should just do q2 on ultrasofts then, if they’re afraid to make q3 and have a negative impact on their race, this way EVEN if they make it into q3 they will start on ultras, the better race tyre.

      Also related to this: the top teams’ drivers could just qualify in q2 with ultras as well if not many drivers pick hypersofts for q2, cause as long as they don’t have 5 or more B-cars in front of them they’ll be fine to go through q3 on ultras.

    12. @esploratore Problem there is that by using a set of Ultra’s in Q2 there removing a set of new ultra-soft’s from there race allocation which could disadvantage them when it matters.

      This is why using artificial means to try & spice things up is never a good idea, There will always be unintended consequences be it DRS making passing too easy at times, High-deg tyres creating extreme levels of tyre management, Mandatory pit stops forcing everyone down similar strategy routes or the top 10 starting on the tyres they ran in Q2 putting them at a disadvantage.

    Comments are closed.