Haas F1 Team: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying Recap

Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean qualified 14th and 16th, respectively, for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday at Yas Marina Circuit.

Magnussen set the 14th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:39.395 around the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track. Grosjean was 16th quickest with a lap of 1:39.516, falling one spot short of the top-15 cutoff to advance to Q2.

In Q2, Magnussen remained 14th fastest despite turning a lap that was .097 of a second better than his Q1 time. Only the top-10 drivers move on to Q3.  

Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.

Taking the pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. His fast lap of 1:36.231 was .172 of a second better than runner-up and teammate Lewis Hamilton and it set a new all-time fastest lap at Yas Marina. It was Bottas’ fourth career Formula One pole – all of which have come this season – and his first in Abu Dhabi.

Before Magnussen, Grosjean and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track. After an installation lap on the Yellow soft compound, both drivers performed two timed stints, each utilizing ultrasofts to emulate qualifying.

Magnussen ran 19 laps and set the 14th-fastest time with a 1:39.831 on his 13th lap. Grosjean tallied 19 laps and earned his best time on his 12th lap – a 1:40.079 that put him 15th overall.

Quickest in FP3 was Hamilton, whose fast lap of 1:37.627 was .273 of a second better than Bottas.

Romain Grosjean: “We didn’t do much in FP2 yesterday, so qualifying was always going to be tough. I don’t have any front end. Kevin (Magnussen) loves it, but I don’t like it. We’ve struggled to find the perfect balance. I’m struggling to drive the car that way and get the last few tenths out of the car. No excuse, but it just doesn’t fit my feelings. We’re going to work hard and try to find out what we can do to improve that. It’s been the case for about the last eight or nine races. We made a step in Brazil, but here with all the low-speed corners, it’s just difficult. Hopefully in the race, with more laps, it should get better. We need a lot to happen in the race tomorrow, but anything is possible.”

Kevin Magnussen: “I think we’ve been better here than our average. If you take away the likes of Australia, Austria, Silverstone, this is probably our average position or there about. I don’t think it’s that bad. We’ve done well to get back after missing FP1 which, unfortunately, I’ve had to a few times this year. We’ve gotten to a good point with the car and made some good steps since FP2 and through into FP3 and then to here. We’ve managed things well with the change in temperature with doing FP1 and FP3 in the sun, then FP2 and qualifying in the dark, where track temperature drops a lot and affects the tires a lot. It’s not an easy one to get right and I didn’t think we did a bad job with it. There’s nothing to lose tomorrow, so we’re going to go for it and give it everything.”

Guenther Steiner: “It was quite an average day. I think the good thing is we recovered from FP2, as we were struggling a little bit there yesterday. Is it good enough to get into the points tomorrow? I don’t know. Nevertheless, we don’t give up yet, because we’re normally better in the race than in qualifying. Starting 14th and 16th – it’s not impossible to end up in the points, so let’s see what the day brings tomorrow.”

Haas F1 Team PR

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