Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes his team had no way to avoid losing out when the conditions changed in the German Grand Prix after scoring with only one car.
Kevin Magnussen started from fifth and Romain Grosjean sixth at Hockenheim as Haas again showed excellent pace on Saturday to give itself a good chance of a double-points finish. As has often been the case, however, Sunday was a missed opportunity as Magnussen finished outside the top 10 and Grosjean needed a late charge to finish sixth behind Nico Hulkenberg, losing more ground in the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship.
“[Magnussen] went off twice and Hulkenberg passed him and got ahead of him, and then we decided to bring him in to put intermediates on and it started from there,” Steiner (pictured above) explained. “It’s always difficult to say if it was right or wrong.
“I think it was the right decision to take him in because it was too slippery out there because with our worn tires we had on — the risk to go off somewhere like [Sebastian] Vettel did was very high, because they were very worn and both drivers said there was no chance to get the tires up to temperature.
“You’re in between and at the time you don’t know how long the rain lasts. If you put new tires on they cool down so quick they don’t grip anymore. So it’s one of these situations where we were at that point we can just lose, because we have to cover but we don’t want to take any risks — as if you take a risk you can lose everything.”
Grosjean ended up ahead of Magnussen as both cars were switched to intermediates at the same time before later returning to slicks under the Safety Car, but Steiner believes the team salvaged a result having been put on the back foot.
“I think we did some damage limitation overall with Romain finishing sixth, so it’s not too bad. We got away with it not too bad but we need to study if we could have done the two stops on a different lap, not double stop them. If something would have changed… but I am not sure it would so we need to replay everything to see.
“It happens in such a short time, all these decisions, and I think you have to make sure you cover the Renaults, that they’re not doing anything too risky or silly against them and end up with no points. And you have to think about if you leave them out, can this tire work? And the answer was clearly no.
“The pit stop was not seamless to be honest; the double stop was not perfect by any means. There are a few things we need to look into in more detail but in general, this is part of racing. You always afterwards can do better and with hindsight you would do different but I think we got away with it with damage limitation.”