Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified sixth and 17th, respectively, for the Australian Grand Prix Sunday at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. Grosjean’s performance gave Haas F1 Team its best qualifying effort to date, bettering its previous best of seventh earned by Grosjean in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Australian Grand Prix is the season-opening race of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship and it marks only the 22nd start for Haas F1 Team.
“Happy day", said Romain Grosjean about his qualifying performance.
"It was quite an unbelievable qualifying session for us. It’s a shame that we didn’t get Kevin there, but the car is looking good, even better than what we’ve seen recently. We’ve made some good progress over the weekend. There’s a lot more we can understand and analyze but, generally, it’s a great start for us.
“It’s always good to start with a strong qualifying session. It tells you that if you keep improving the car, you could be in a good place very soon. If that’s our baseline, and you can fight between sixth and 10th position, where it’s so tight, it would be great to be there most of the time and enjoy some good times.
“Tomorrow’s start is a big unknown. We’ve been practicing and some have been good, others not so much. Hopefully, we’ll get the first one right tomorrow.”
Team mate Kevin Magnussen struggled and ended up 17th, facing a difficult debut race on Sunday.
"“Went off the track in turn 12 on both of my laps – really annoyed with that", summarised the Dane.
"The car was there in qualifying. My lap was good until I went off. Both times my lap was good. I’m disappointed with that. We should’ve been a lot further up the grid. Now, I have to fight quite hard in the race. There’s still a lot that can happen and I will give it my best tomorrow."
Team principal Gunther Steiner salvaged a bit, but was equally thankful of the great performance put in by Romain Grosjean.
“It’s been a great weekend for Romain. Not the same for Kevin. We had issues with his car. We couldn’t find a balance, so he didn’t run properly in the free practice sessions. He never tried the ultrasoft tire over the weekend, so he went into qualifying with an unknown. It didn’t work out. I think we made good progress in FP3 and it will come.
“Again, great for Romain. He put a lap down, second to none, I would say. Thanks to all the time again because what they did was fantastic. It’s our best qualifying – sixth-place behind the big ones. That’s great for the youngest team on the grid."