Haas‘ Romain Grosjean says the opening two races of 2019 have been a “copy-paste from last year” after he retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Grosjean failed to score any points in the first eight races of last year, with a botched pitstop in Australia and bodywork damage in Bahrain starting that run.
The Frenchman retired from the 2019 Australian GP after another blunder in the pits from his team, before an opening-lap incident caused him to retire in Bahrain.
The VF-19 has shown strong pace over one lap, with his team-mate Kevin Magnussen qualifying in P6 for Bahrain, but that pace would vanish during the race as he slipped down the field.
“At the minute a bit copy-paste from last year,” Grosjean admitted after the race.
“But we’re strong and we always came back, so next race is going to be better.”
Grosjean was given a three-place grid penalty for the race after impeding Lando Norris in Q1, meaning he would start from P11.
Grosjean took a hit from the right-front tyre of Lance Stroll‘s Racing Point at Turn 2 on the opening lap, forcing him to pit and fall down the order, before retiring the car on lap 16.
“I think someone just came and hit me from behind, and that was it,” Grosjean said.
“Car was very damaged anyway, it was a rear puncture, you lose so much time rejoining the pits, and then the car was damaged, so that was it.”
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) March 31, 2019
Both Grosjean and Haas principal Guenther Steiner had been highly critical of the grid penalty and superlicense point imposed upon the 32-year-old for the Norris incident, and were stunned again when the stewards announced no further action would be taken against Stroll.
“I won’t tell you exactly what I think because it’s not going to go well, Grosjean explained.”
“That’s always the risk when you start not where you want to start, and I think we should’ve started eighth today.
“We were sorry [about blocking Norris] and yes, we didn’t do correctly yesterday, but in the end it didn’t change Lando’s qualifying, didn’t change ours.
“And obviously starting 11th today ruined our race.”