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America And Haas F1 Team Stun The World

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, March 20 2016
Romain Grosjean drove America's Haas F1 Team to a stunning sixth-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean drove America’s Haas F1 Team to a stunning sixth-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix.

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

It was business as usual up at the head of the field during Sunday’s season-opening Formula One race in Australia, but back about four spots, all history was breaking out.

Mercedes AMG drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton surprised nobody when they finished the formula1logoAustralian Grand Prix first and second respectively. Their team has, after all won the last two F1 constructors championships and won them in dominating fashion.

Surprising almost everybody, however, was Romain Grosjean, who finished sixth for the American Hass F1 Team in its first-ever race. It was a race for which team members had set a goal of just finishing or, just maybe, scoring a point.

“Mission accomplished,” team owner Gene Haas, whose main base of operations is Charlotte, N.C., said.

The finish gave Haas F1 – which has a technical alliance with Ferrari Scuderia – eight points and a major boost in morale.

After crossing the finish line, Frenchman Grosjean announced over the team radio, “This is a win for us. A win for us. Unbelievable.”

He later told reporters, “It feels like standing on the top step of the podium. From Day 1, I told these guys the car has huge potential. We have plenty of areas where we can improve but the result is a massive boost for everyone.”

The second Haas car – driven by Esteban Gutierrez – did not fare nearly as well. It wrecked after being clipped from behind by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso. Neither driver was injured, but the wreck was a scary one as Alonso’s car launched from the track and slammed into a barrier.

The wreck brought out a red flag.

The stoppage, which occurred a third of the way through the race, played a big part in the finishing order. Both Mercedes drivers switched to a hard-compound tire while the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, opted for soft tires.

On hard tires, Rosberg and Hamilton, the defending series champion, were able to cruise non stop to the end.

Vettel finished third.

Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull was fourth and Felipe Massa of Williams was fifth.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, March 20 2016
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