Malaysia GP: Qualifying notes - Haas


Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified 16th and 17th, respectively, for the Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday at Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur.

Grosjean set the 16th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:33.308 around the 5.543-kilometer (3.444-mile), 15-turn track. Magnussen followed his teammate in 17th with a lap of 1:33.434. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.

Taking the pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:30.076 was .045 of a second better than runner-up Kimi Raikkonen of Scuderia Ferrari. It was Hamilton's milestone 70th career Formula One pole, his ninth of the season and his fifth at Sepang, which now includes a run of four straight. Hamilton tied the legendary Michael Schumacher for the most poles at Sepang.

Before Grosjean, Magnussen 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. Both drivers sampled the full range of Pirelli's tire lineup at Sepang, with each beginning FP3 on the White medium for two installation laps before bolting on Yellow softs and then transitioning to Red supersofts for some flying laps.

While an electrical issue in the middle of the session limited his run program, Magnussen set the 13th-fastest time with a 1:33.787 on his 10th and final lap. Grosjean tallied 19 laps, posting a 1:34.914 on his seventh tour that placed him 18th overall. Magnussen earned his quick time on Red supersofts while Grosjean secured his fastest lap on Yellow softs.

Quickest in FP3 was Raikkonen, whose fast lap of 1:31.880 was .162 of a second better than his Scuderia Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Romain Grosjean: "It's been pretty amazing what the team has been capable of doing after yesterday. It's such a great team and it shows how much we've improved since the beginning. They managed to repair the car after curfew, but still in a quick amount of time. I'm very proud of them, and I was happy I was able to go out. Unfortunately, we went out in Q1. We're working and we're trying to analyze everything we can. We're really doing our best, but these last few races we just haven't had much performance. We know the supersoft is not our best compound, in general. We're struggling to find the right window on tires. We need to just keep working on that. We're all in the same boat and working hard. It will pay off at one point. Tomorrow is a long race. It'll be very hot. The weather can be tricky. Let's try to get the best, as we did in Singapore, and hopefully score some points."

Note: Grosjean crashed in Friday's FP2 session when a loose drain cover on the apex of the right-hand turn 13 shredded the right-rear tire on his Haas VF-17 and sent him spinning off the track and into the barrier on the outside of the corner. Grosjean walked away unscathed, but his racecar sustained significant damage. FIA officials granted Haas F1 Team special dispensation to work through the series' mandated overnight curfew and repair the car due to the unusual nature of the incident.

Kevin Magnussen: "The feeling was not too bad. It's just not competitive, I guess. It's tough for us, but that's how it is. The car isn't slow. It's been fast on other occasions, other races. We're just not consistent enough in some areas. Something is making our performance vary too much. We're working on it. The essential part is that we've designed a good baseline car. It's just that sometimes it won't work, and today was one of those days."

Guenther Steiner: "The weekend doesn't seem to get any better. There's not much more that can go wrong, or worse, for tomorrow. We're having these weekends where nothing seems to be going right. This is one of them. We just need to try to get together again and do the best with what we can tomorrow."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Sepang, here.

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Published: 30/09/2017
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