Haas F1 Team: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice Recap

The final round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi as teams prepared for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday.

Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track were run under clear and warm conditions. FP1 took place in the heat of the afternoon sun while FP2 was the more representative session, emulating the twilight conditions teams will face Sunday in the 55-lap season finale.

Antonio Giovinazzi joined Haas F1 Team’s regular drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, in FP1 for the seventh time this season. The third driver for Scuderia Ferrari drove in place of Magnussen, who relinquished his seat for Giovinazzi to gain some additional Formula One experience.

Giovinazzi ran a total of 21 laps, the best being a 1:42.065 on his 14th lap that put him 18th overall. It was a relatively straightforward session for Giovinazzi, who spent his first nine laps on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire before switching to the much grippier Purple ultrasoft tire for his final 12 laps, which yielded his quick time.


Grosjean ran 24 laps in FP1 with a quick time of 1:41.306 on his 15th lap to place him 12th among the 20 drivers. Grosjean’s program was in line with Giovinazzi’s, as he logged 10 laps on Yellow softs prior to bolting on Purple ultrasofts for the remainder of the session. Like Giovinazzi, Grosjean scored his quick time on ultrasofts.

Leading the way in FP1 was Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, whose fast lap of 1:39.006 was .120 of a second better than the next quickest driver, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Magnussen returned to his Haas VF-17 in FP2 and set the 16th-fastest time with a 1:41.128 on his 17th lap. He began the session on Red supersoft tires and ran 11 laps on the compound before opting for Purple ultrasofts.

Grosjean, meanwhile, dealt with an electrical issue that limited his running to just 12 laps. He was slated for the same program as Magnussen, as he started on supersofts and ran seven laps before changing to ultrasofts. But a lack of grip that culminated with a spin on lap 12, combined with the electrical issue, conspired to end Grosjean’s session early. He ended up 20th with a best time of 1:41.560 earned on his seventh lap.

Hamilton topped FP2, flipping the result of FP1 as his fast lap of 1:37.877 pipped next best Vettel by .149 of a second. Hamilton set a new track record in the process, beating his own mark of 1:38.434 set in 2011 during Q2 when he was a member of McLaren.

Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 88 laps – 36 by Grosjean, 31 by Magnussen and 21 by Giovinazzi.

Romain Grosjean: “The morning was good, the afternoon wasn’t. We struggled to get everything to work when night fell. We then had an electrical issue which stopped our day. That clearly wasn’t ideal as FP2 is the only representative session for qualifying and the race. We’re going to put everything we can together to find a solution for tomorrow.”

Kevin Magnussen: “It was a decent session with plenty of laps. We do still have a few things we need to work on overnight so we’re better prepared for tomorrow. Hopefully, we can find some more pace and get a better result in our qualifying run.”

Antonio Giovinazzi: “First of all, thanks to Haas and, of course, Ferrari, for these Friday practice experiences. It’s been really great for me to be in the car and try to help the team. It was a good last session for me. I hope the team is really happy with the job that I did. That was always my first target when I started these FP1 sessions. Now the season is done. We’ll see what we can do next year.”

Guenther Steiner: “A mixed day. FP1 was not so bad. FP2 we had one problem with Romain’s car – an electrical problem. We then struggled to get the ultrasoft tire to work, so we didn’t get a good lap time – not helped with Kevin only being in the car for the first time today in FP2. Otherwise, in the morning the car wasn’t performing too bad. So, for tomorrow, everything is possible. I’m sure the guys will work hard tonight to find a solution for not having the tire working.”

Next Up: Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (14:00-15:00) before qualifying starts at 17:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 15 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.

Haas F1 Team PR

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