Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez found their qualifying efforts plagued by tyre issues for the Russian Grand Prix, with both drivers struggling to make the Pirelli tyres work and then remain in the optimal working window.
After a fairytale start to the season for Haas and in particular Grosjean, with points from the opening two races in Australia and Bahrain, the American outfit has returned to earth with a bump as of late.
Whilst balance issues plagued Grosjean in particular in China, the Pirelli tyres are causing many headaches within the Haas camp in Russia.
With the Sochi circuit notorious for its smooth surface and therefore relatively non-existent tyre wear, generating heat into the tyres is proving to be Haas’ achilles-heel so far this weekend.
“It’s been a complicated weekend so far for us,” explained a frustrated Grosjean after qualifying.
“We’ve been struggling with the grip and the car. It’s difficult to get the tyre to work on such a smooth asphalt.
“I still don’t have the feeling I used to have earlier in the season with the car. We really need to analyse that.
“The tyres are hard to keep in the window, so it’s going to be challenging for everyone."
Although Grosjean has been left frustrated after his qualifying result, team principal Guenther Steiner is satisfied with his team’s results, particularly after ending the session only several tenths behind the McLarens.
“We are very happy with where we qualified,” enthused Steiner.
“We had a difficult weekend leading up to today, but we recovered, and ended up 15th and 16th which is very close to the two McLarens.
“To be in Q2 with both cars is great for us.
“We are usually stronger in the race than we are in qualifying.
“We’ll definitely be pushing with both cars to maximise our position and get into the points, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”