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Getting into Q3 was very tight – Haas F1

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Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean qualified 11th and 14th, respectively, for the Spanish Grand Prix Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.

Grosjean set the seventh-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:21.822 around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit. Magnussen was 10th quickest with a lap of 1:21.945. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2, and it marked the first time this season both Haas F1 Team pilots advanced to the second round.

In Q2, Magnussen earned the 11th fastest time with a lap of 1:21.329, just missing the cutoff spot for Q3 by .078 of a second. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 advance to Q3. Grosjean was 14th quickest in Q2 with a time of 1:21.517. A lockup in the last chicane on his final flying lap prevented Grosjean from improving his time.

Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire throughout qualifying.

Sweeping all of the top spots in each round of qualifying to take the pole for the Spanish Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:19.149 set a new track qualifying record and was .051 of a second better than runner-up Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari.

The previous track qualifying record was 1:19.995 set by Mark Webber in his Red Bull during qualifying for the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix. Hamilton beat that time by .846 of second. The pole is the 64th of Hamilton’s Formula One career, his second this season and his third at Barcelona.

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. Each driver ran all three tire compounds available from Pirelli this weekend – Orange hard, White medium and Yellow soft.

Grosjean ended up 11th quick with a 1:22.128 earned on his 15th lap and Magnussen followed right behind in 12th with a 1:22.214 secured on his 11th tour. Each driver nabbed their fastest laps on Yellow softs. Grosjean tallied 21 laps in FP3 and Magnussen logged 12 laps.

Quickest in FP3 was Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen, whose fast lap of 1:20.214 was .242 of a second better than his nearest pursuer and teammate Vettel. Force India’s Esteban Ocon ran the most laps (22).

Romain Grosjean: “I was hoping for more than P14. Without that last spin on the last lap, perhaps we could have done better. Anyway, the car balance has been very tricky and the wind makes it very unpredictable. We struggled with that, so there are a few things we need to work on because I don’t think we’re operating as we should be in some areas.

The problem right now is that if I push it to the limit, one corner’s going to be fine but the next it goes away. That’s a big problem for me as I’m struggling to drive it when it’s like this. The car is not reacting as I would like and the grip is very low. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow in the race.”

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s always frustrating when you miss out on Q3 by a small amount. You can always say that you had it in there, but you know we’ll get there. Q3 is not far away. I think I nearly maximized everything. There’s always a little bit more you can do, but so can everyone. I don’t think this is our track, really.

It’s good to see that the upgrades have worked a little bit. It hasn’t been negative. We just need to build on it and get into Q3. We only need to get one car tomorrow then we’re in the points. Of course, we would like more than one point, but even that would be satisfying to get out of here with something. I’ll cross my fingers for a good start. Hopefully, the temperature will drop and the wind will die down and it’ll make it a bit easier for us.”

Guenther Steiner – Haas F1 Team Principal: “A very interesting and stressful day, but in the end I think we can come away from qualifying with our heads up. We qualified 11th, and getting into Q3 was very tight. We had a good FP3 session this morning.

Both drivers did a good job. I think Romain was just trying too hard on his last lap, but the midfield is tight, and it always will be. It will be a half-tenth up or down and you could be anywhere from seventh to 14th. It’s very, very tight. We are 11th and 14th, and it’s a good place to get into the points tomorrow.”

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