Romain Grosjean was left perplexed as to what caused his big crash during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
In his attempts to control a slide through the first sector at Suzuka, Grosjean lost the rear of his Haas Formula One car on the run to Dunlop curve and was pitched into a hefty impact with the barriers. The incident caused significant damage to his car and brought out the red flags with just over a minute of Q1 remaining.
As a result, Grosjean ended the session 16th and was knocked out of qualifying. The Frenchman said he could not understand why he had struggled with handling on his second run, after feeling his team had made a significant step forward in performance between final practice and qualifying.
"I don't know [the reason why]. I went faster than the previous lap but slower than FP3," Grosjean said. "From FP3 to qualifying I think we made a really good choice technically, the car felt really nice on the first run.
"I had a massive moment at Turn 11 and lost more than 0.5s, so I wasn't worried that we would not go through [to Q2]. I came back in the garage, did a tiny bit of front wing and went again.
"I already had a big snap at Turn 1, I didn't really know where it came from. I kept going and went into Turn 3 but by the time I went into Turn 3 I just lost the rear. Then I was trying to recover but it was too late. Honestly it's not crystal clear. Yes, I pushed a bit more but we are talking little compared to the handling difference I had."
Grosjean believes he had the pace to make it into the final segment of qualifying.
"I feel sorry because honestly the car had the pace to be in the top 10 today. I really felt it in the first run. I have got no explanation about what is the difference between that first and second run. In the car we added one percent of aero balance. It's not disastrous but again I think clearly the top ten was very, very possible today."
Grosjean, who is set to line up from 13th after other grid penalties are applied, hopes he will not have to take a grid drop to replace the gearbox or any other components that might have been damaged in the crash.
"I haven't heard the latest, but touch wood we're going to be fine. There's a few penalties in front of us so we can start 13th or something like that."