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Haas Drivers Qualify In Top 10 in Spain

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 12 2018

The Haas F1 driver lineup of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean are off to a fast start at the Spanish Grand Prix. (File photo courtesy of Haas F1)


Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean each earned top-10 starting positions for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix by advancing into the final round of knockout qualifying Saturday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.

Magnussen and Grosjean qualified seventh and 10th, respectively, as the American-owned organization placed both drivers into Q3 for only the third time in team history and second time this year.

The last time Haas F1 saw both drivers advance into the final round of qualifying was at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, where Magnussen qualified sixth and Grosjean was seventh. The Spanish Grand Prix is the fifth race of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship and the 46th start for Haas F1 since its debut at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix.

“A very good day today,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1. “Finishing seventh and 10th in qualifying is a very good position for tomorrow. So, we just have to bring it home. That’s our aim _ get two cars in the top-10.”

Taking pole for Mercedes AMG was four-time/reigning World Driving Champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain. His fast lap of 1-minute, 16.173-seconds set a new all-time track record at Barcelona and was just 0.04-seconds better than runnerup and teammate Valtteri Bottas of Finland. It was Hamilton’s 74th career Formula One pole, his second this season and fourth at Barcelona, which includes a run of three straight. Hamilton set the previous lap record at 1:19.149 last year.

The race _ scheduled for 66 laps/190.826 miles/307.104 kilometers _ will be televised Sunday at 9 a.m. (EDT) on ESPN2.

The final session featured the heavy hitters of Formula One, with four-time/reigning champion Mercedes, 16-time champion Scuderia Ferrari and four-time champion Red Bull all represented. Haas F1 Team held its own, with Magnussen qualifying a best-of-the-rest seventh with a lap of 1:17.676 and Grosjean taking 10th with a lap of 1:17.835.

“It was a really good qualifying; P7 for us is really pole position _ it’s the best you can hope for if you’re not in a Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull,” said Magnussen, a native of Denmark and driver of the Ferrari-powered No. 20 Haas VF-18. “I’m really happy with that. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and, hopefully, we can bring home some good points. It’s a good position to start, and again, P7 is probably the best we can hope for if everyone finishes.

“It’s still a very tight battle, but I think our car is strong and we can be happy with where we are at the moment. We need to keep up the levels, continue to develop, and keep putting stuff on the car.”

Magnussen set the seventh-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1-minute, 18.169-seconds around the 2.892-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn track. Grosjean was ninth-quickest with a lap of 1:18.305. Only the top-15 drivers moved on to Q2. Magnussen earned the sixth-fastest time in Q2 with a lap of 1:17.618 and Grosjean was eighth at 1:17.699, allowing each driver to make the top-10 cutoff and advance to Q3.

“Pretty good qualifying for the team _ both cars in the top-10,” said Frenchman Grosjean, driver of the No. 8 Haas VF-18. “Obviously, Q3 could’ve been better and I’m not super happy to start P10 but, in general, I think we’re in a good position for the race and I’m happy for the team.”

Magnussen and Grosjean used the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire in Q1 and then switched to the Yellow soft tire for Q2. They returned to supersofts in Q3, with the softest tire made available by Pirelli for the Spanish Grand Prix affording the most grip. Per the sporting regulations, both drivers will start the race on softs, as that is the compound they used to set their quick times in Q2.

Before Magnussen and Grosjean participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice (FP3) to dial-in their cars. To emulate qualifying, both drivers ran exclusively on supersofts. Magnussen ran 15 laps and set the sixth-fastest time with a 1:18.357 on his 13th tour. Grosjean tallied 16 laps and earned his best time on his 14th lap _ a 1:18.706 that put him directly behind his teammate in seventh. The top of FP3 was a prelude to qualifying. Hamilton led the way with a lap of 1:17.291, eclipsing next-best Bottas by 0.013-seconds.

Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American F1 team since 1986. Haas F1 is based at the same Kannapolis, N.C., campus that houses Stewart-Haas Racing, the championship-winning NASCAR Cup Series organization American industrialist Gene Haas co-owns with retired three-time champion Tony Stewart.

Founded by Haas in 1983, Haas Automation, Inc., is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools and the team’s primary sponsor. Haas Automation employs approximately 1,300 at its 1.1-million square-foot/102,000 square-meter headquarters in Oxnard, Calif. Haas Automation exports its machines to more than 60 countries through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.


| , RacinToday.com Saturday, May 12 2018
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