Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified ninth and 20th, respectively, for the Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
Grosjean set the 11th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:31.691 and Magnussen was 20th quickest with a lap of 1:32.900. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.
Grosjean was able to advance to Q2 and Magnussen was on track to do the same until the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr. stopped prior to the final corner. The resulting caution period thwarted Magnussen’s lap, preventing him from improving his time.
In Q2, Grosjean earned the ninth fastest time with a lap of 1:30.857, which was a .834 of a second improvement from his Q1 time. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 move on to Q3.
In Q3 for the fourth time as a Haas F1 Team driver and the second time this season, Grosjean acquitted himself well. His fast lap of 1:30.763 was .094 of a second better than his Q2 time and it allowed him to outpace the Renault of Jolyon Palmer to earn a ninth-place starting spot. Grosjean started ninth in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix before finishing fifth, which remains Haas F1 Team’s best result.
Both Grosjean and Magnussen ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire throughout qualifying.
Taking the pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. His fast lap of 1:28.769 set a new track qualifying record and was .023 of a second better than runner-up and teammate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton held the previous track qualifying record of 1:29.493 set last year in Q3, and Bottas’ pole-winning time beat it by .724 of a second. This is Bottas’ first career Formula One pole and the Bahrain Grand Prix will mark his 80th career start.
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 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn track.
Magnussen ran 13 laps and set the 17th-fastest time with a 1:34.198 on his 11th lap. Grosjean tallied 14 laps and earned his best time on his final lap – a 1:34.205 that put him 18th overall. Both drivers worked to find a balance on their respective Haas VF-17s, and the struggle was illustrated by Grosjean’s spin at the exit of turn four. The front of his car touched the barrier, knocking off the wing. The damage was negligible, however, as Grosjean was able to drive back to the garage and have it replaced. Quick work by the crew allowed him to complete five more laps before the session ended.
Quickest in FP3 was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, whose fast lap of 1:32.194 was .110 of a second better than the next best time set by Hamilton.