Jul 23, 2016
Formula One teams had one final practice (FP3) prior to qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring in Budapest. Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez tallied 28 laps around the 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn circuit – 13 by Grosjean and 15 by Gutiérrez.
The 60-minute session took place under clear skies, with an air temperature steady at 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) while the track temperature climbed to 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit).
Both drivers began FP3 with an installation lap and then two simulated qualifying runs. Gutiérrez’s fast lap was a 1:22.142, set on Pirelli P Zero Red supersofts, and it placed him 14th overall. Grosjean’s quick time was a 1:22.284, also set on Red supersofts, and it placed him 15th overall.
Fastest in FP3 was Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, with his time 1:20.261 being just .002 of a second faster than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The clear skies teams enjoyed in FP3 were nowhere to be found when qualifying began two hours later. A downpour delayed the start of Q1, and more delays and stoppages were encountered when other bursts of rain drenched the track. Despite the treacherous conditions, where with the track slowly drying drivers transitioned from the Pirelli Cinturato Blue full wet tire to the Cinturato Green intermediate tire, Grosjean and Gutiérrez advanced to Q2 for the sixth straight time. Grosjean was the fifth-fastest driver in Q1 (1:35.906) and Gutiérrez was the 11th fastest (1:38.959). Only the top-16 drivers advanced to Q2.
The sun reappeared for Q2, allowing for a dry groove to develop and teams to quickly discard the wet-weather tires and switch to slicks. And as the drack continued to dry, lap times fell. Riding on Red supersofts, Grosjean set the 11th-quickest time (1:24.941) and Gutiérrez earned the 15th-fastest mark (1:26.189). With the top-10 drivers moving on to Q3, Grosjean missed the cutoff by a scant .105 of a second.
Winning the pole for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was Rosberg, the championship point leader. He pipped his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the very end of Q3, earning the top spot by .143 of a second. It was Rosberg’s 26th career pole, his fourth this season and his second at the Hungaroring. Rosberg carries a one-point advantage over Hamilton into the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“It was close. We were only one-tenth off of Lewis’ P10 time. All things considered, to be that close, it’s a good thing. We successfully made all the right decisions at the right time in qualifying, including tire choices. It was a very difficult qualifying session, but we showed how much we’ve improved as a team from day one through today. We were perfect today in our execution. We were fast on both the extreme wet and intermediate tires. We weren’t too bad on slicks. I know that tenth-of-a-second that denied us today is somewhere in there. I’m pretty happy with everything. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow it’s going to be boiling hot, and that always makes for a good race.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“That was one of the trickiest qualifying sessions of the season, with a lot of interruptions. In Q1, we were quite unlucky. I basically only had one clean lap, so it wasn’t an easy one for us. In Q2, I was struggling to find the temperature on the tires. The conditions out there were difficult. With only one line to take, you’ve no margin for any mistakes. I’m not happy with 15th, but tomorrow I hope to overtake and make my way up the grid. It’s going to make for a very interesting and exciting race, and I’m going to give it my all to try to advance as much as I can.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“It was quite an exciting qualifying session with a lot of action out there. To keep cool in this situation is very difficult, but I think the team did a good job. We managed everything very well, so we’ve no regrets. We ended up 11th and 15th. Being 11th is starting to get old, but at least by being there Romain can start on new tires, so that will be an advantage. Esteban can make his way up. He’s in good company, with Kimi (Raikkonen) just ahead. We’re almost there, but still not in Q3, which is where we want to be. But 11th is a good starting position. Tomorrow we’re confident we can move up. We’ll be trying hard to get points.”