Graining a concern for Haas after F1 Sprint

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Nico Hülkenberg had a very difficult sprint race in Azerbaijan as tyre graining saw the German fall back through the field horribly during the 17-lap race.

At one stage he was in P11 and ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen. The next minute he was losing multiple seconds a lap to the Dane and other cars around him as he slid down to P15.

Speaking after the sprint event, the Haas team boss explained that Magnussen did not face the same kind of problem until the final lap.

“We need to see why [Hülkenberg struggled]. Was he sliding too much? I think the tyre is just on the edge here,” said Steiner.

“We need to look at the data, because the other car did pretty well. The other car was pretty fast, there was no issue with that.

“[Magnussen] had graining on the last lap. I don’t know what the tyres looked like, but Kevin said in the last lap of the race he started also to lose the rear, so we need to look into that one.

“But otherwise, he was pretty happy with the car, and I think the lap times were good.”

The German finished almost 21 seconds behind his stablemate in the end as Kevin Magnussen finished a respectable P11.

“I think it’s just managing the tyres a little bit different. But the good thing is he has now somewhere to look at what to do and what not to do.”

Haas kept Hülkenberg out on track to check if he could get through the graining phase and to have that valuable data for tomorrow to try and rectify things.

“What you gain is the long run. Basically, you do the long run on the tyre for tomorrow in the race,” Steiner added.

“Otherwise when Nico started to go slower, it was like saying, why don’t you call him in? We said no, we keep him out to see if we can get over the graining, so at least we are prepared for tomorrow.

“Therefore, you stay out just to try to understand what the tyre is doing as well.

“You stay in the race, you never know, especially here, what is happening in the front, all of a sudden you’ve got a red flag or something, you’re back in the game.”

Steiner believes the biggest unknown for tomorrow’s race is the hard tyre and how it will handle the track surface.

There is a good chance one of the Haas cars will start on it with Hülkenberg and Magnussen P16 and P17 on the grid respectively.

“I think we know the pace now, now the only thing we don’t know is how long the tyre stays together. We need to find that one out also from the data that we get tonight from Pirelli,” he said.

“That is the thing now, when you need to come in for pit stops. I think nobody really knows what the C3 is doing because we just drove it on Friday, early on anyway, and [we did not do] not many laps.

“That is the unknown in my opinion, is the hard tyre for tomorrow.”

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team