Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean earned strong starting positions for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix by advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying Saturday at the Hungaroring in Budapest. The duo qualified ninth and 10th, respectively, as the American squad placed both its drivers into Q3 for the fifth straight race and the seventh time this season.
Qualifying took place under treacherous conditions, with a wet racetrack forcing drivers to start on the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tire. However, the track dried enough to allow a switch to slicks, with drivers utilizing the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire for a brief window in Q1 before rain returned and eventually inundated the track. Drivers went back to intermediates in Q2 before switching to Blue full wet tires for the remainder of qualifying.
Grosjean set the seventh-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:17.901 around the 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn circuit. Magnussen was 10th quickest with a lap of 1:18.314. Both earned their fast times utilizing the ultrasoft tire. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.
In Q2, Magnussen earned the ninth-fastest time with a lap of 1:32.968 and Grosjean followed in 10th with a lap of 1:33.650, allowing each driver to make the top-10 cutoff and advance to Q3. Their fast times were earned on intermediate tires.
The duo maintained these spots in Q3, with Magnussen recording the ninth-best time with a 1:39.858 and Grosjean logging a 1:40.593 to hold down 10th. These times were secured using the full wet tire.
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. Unlike qualifying, this session was dry.
Grosjean ran 19 laps and set the ninth-fastest time with a 1:18.084 on his 11th tour. Magnussen tallied 17 laps and also earned his best time on his 11th lap - a 1:18.230 that put him 11th overall.
Romain Grosjean: "I'm happy with my job today, but I'm disappointed with the result in Q3. I was blocked by Max (Verstappen) in the last corner of the second to last lap and started just in his spray and couldn't see anything in the last lap, so a bit disappointed with that. I think we were very, very fast on dries. I think at one point I was P1 and then P2. The car was up there, but then it rained and it was a challenge to get into Q3, which we did and that's great. There's some work to be done on the car in the wet. We haven't been very competitive, but I think this is the first time we've driven the Haas VF-18 in those conditions, so there is a lot that we can learn from it and that's positive. Obviously, everything is open for the race tomorrow. All in all, not a bad session."
Kevin Magnussen: "I'm not disappointed with P9 and P10. We had hoped for a little bit more, in dry conditions at least, but in those tricky conditions the team did a very good job to stay calm, put us on the right tires, and send us out at the right time. It's so easy to make the wrong decision in those conditions, and there's a lot of pressure on the team in that situation. In the dry, they send us out and we have to do the job. But in the wet, it's really down to them and they did the right thing. So, good job to them."
Guenther Steiner: "Quite an exciting qualifying. Again having two cars in Q3 is fantastic for us. So, all in all a positive day today."
Check out our Saturday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.