After starting ninth, Romain Grosjean finished an impressive fifth in the 57-lap race around the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. It was his second point-scoring result in as many races, as the 29-year-old finished sixth two weeks ago in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The eight points earned in Melbourne combined with the 10 points secured in Bahrain have placed Grosjean fifth in the driver standings – the highest position of his Formula One career. In fact, dating back to last year’s Mexican Grand Prix Nov. 1 in Mexico City, Grosjean has finished among the top-10 in five straight races, scoring a total of 25 points.
For the remaining 48 laps, Grosjean led the way for Haas F1 Team. Running an aggressive strategy based on three planned pit stops, Grosjean hit his marks each time. Climbing to fourth, Grosjean’s first pit stop on lap 12 placed him on another brand new set of the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires. Rejoining in 10th place, he carved his way back through the field, overtaking Williams’ Felipe Massa and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Quickly back in fourth place, Grosjean pitted for a used set of supersofts on lap 29, rejoining the field eighth after a three-second pit stop. He once again demonstrated his prowess and that of the VF-16, rejoining the top-five with a textbook move on the Red Bull Racing entry of Daniil Kyvat. Grosjean’s third and final pit stop came on lap 40, this time with the Pirelli P Zero White medium tires bolted on to take him to the end of the race.
Grosjean cracked the top-six with 10 laps remaining courtesy of an effortless pass on Massa, a carbon-copy of his earlier move on the veteran driver. With a handful of laps remaining, Grosjean secured fifth and was cleared by the team to push all the way to the finish, the team confident of his advantage. When the checkered flag dropped, Grosjean was 2.630 seconds ahead of sixth-place Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen.
“This is the American dream.” Romain Grosjean said. “It is unbelievable. I said we had to manage our expectations after we finished sixth in Australia, but here we finished fifth. There’s still a lot of things we can do better, from pit stops to the setup of the car and so on but, for now, this one is for the guys. I looked at their faces last night and they were all very tired because of the amount of work we’re doing. This is a massive reward. Really, just unbelievable. In the race, I had a good feeling in the car. It was an aggressive strategy, but managing tires has always been my strength in the past. Knowing we had a softer compound for this racetrack was something I liked. The car was set up well for the supersoft tires and I had a fantastic race. The car has a very good baseline. Everything is working well. I don’t think I’ve ever been as high as fifth in the driver standings. This is the first time in my career, I can’t believe it.”
Laps completed: 57/57
Started 9th, Finished 5th