Weekend’s promise lost in strategy-driven race
The Brazilian Grand Prix saw a Power Unit issue end Romain’s race prematurely, classifying him seventeenth, while Pastor overcame a poor getaway at the start to finish twelfth.
The issues came at either end of the race but the team’s strategy showed promise across the majority of the 71 laps, as both drivers tiptoed around the tyre limits to push towards top-ten contention.
Most impressive of all was Romain’s first stint on his medium tyres. Starting from fourteenth he made his first set last 24 laps, the longest stint of the race.
While the Frenchman focused on management, Pastor set about reclaiming the lost time after a tough start that saw him pit within the first five laps.
Interlagos’ plentiful pitstops may have cost Pastor in the initial part of the race, but the strategy came into its own at the halfway stage, with the Venezuelan moving into twelfth.
Romain, on a reverse strategy, was able to soar up the rankings early on, as he regularly ran in and around the top five before his first stop.
The temperature dropped and the pit stops increased however, with the team handed a setback as they changed strategy midrace.
“The start of the race was good and we were able to run high up in the field quite quickly,” reflected Romain. “We had to switch from a two-stop to a three-stop strategy half way through the race however and that came with some challenges.”
The challenge was successfully negotiated by the 50-lap mark as both Romain and Pastor gradually clambered up the order.
Five laps later, both sat on the fringes of the points with the former in eleventh and his team-mate thirteenth.
There were more stops to come, but the closing stages proved costly for the team. Pastor was running in twelfth but unable to make up the ground for a top ten finish.
“My start wasn’t great but we managed to be a lot more competitive towards the end of the race and were aiming for points,” he said. “I tried my best and was hoping to overtake Valtteri Bottas but it wasn’t possible in the end. We’ll be pushing hard in Abu Dhabi, that’s for sure.”
There were problems behind him too as Romain came to a halt five laps from the end with the Power Unit problem ending his running.
“A lot of work was done to improve the car’s performance this weekend so it’s hard not to be able to finish,” said the Frenchman. “We’ll be looking into what happened and make sure we’re ready to make the most of the double points on offer for the next race.”
Neither driver saw the promise of the previous days materialise, and Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane felt the number of pitstops were costly.
“We were hoping to capitalise on better tyre life than our rivals, and although we were able stretch more durable performance from the medium compound than some, it was insufficient to secure fewer pit stops for us which meant no advantage.”