Jul 30, 2016
Haas F1 Team’s preparation for the German Grand Prix got off to an inauspicious start in Saturday’s final practice (FP3) at the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg. Romain Grosjean spun off turn three of the 4.574-kilometer (2.842-mile), 17-turn circuit with nearly 40 minutes still remaining in the session. It was a minor sideways excursion through the grass and Grosjean was able to drive his car back to the garage. But on the way to the garage, Grosjean mentioned something was awry with his gearbox. Upon arrival, the team quickly determined a gearbox change was necessary, which meant an automatic five-place grid penalty for the start of Sunday’s German Grand Prix. Grosjean was credited with just four laps in FP3, none of which were at full speed.
Teammate Esteban Gutiérrez, meanwhile, had a trouble-free FP3. He logged 17 laps with a best time of 1:17.160, good for 13th fastest. Gutiérrez earned the quick time on his 13th lap while riding on a set of Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires.
FP3 was led by the same duo who led Friday’s FP1 and FP2 sessions – Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg topped his teammate for the third straight time, setting a mark of 1:15.738, which was .057 of a second better than Hamilton.
After the travails of FP3, Haas F1 Team rebounded in qualifying with both its drivers advancing to Q2 for the seventh straight race. Each utilized the Red supersofts.
Gutiérrez led the way in Q1 and Q2. He turned the eighth-quickest lap (1:15.987) in Q1 and then qualified 11th with a 1:15.883 in Q2, one spot shy of breaking into Q3. Grosjean clocked the 13th-fastest lap in Q1 (1:16.328) and then qualified 15th with a 1:16.086 in Q2. But with his five-place grid penalty, he will start the German Grand Prix from 20th in the 22-car field.
Hamilton was fastest in Q1 and Q2, but in Q3 when the ultimate time mattered, Rosberg took the pole with a lap of 1:14.363. It was Rosberg’s 27th career Formula One pole, his second straight and fifth this season. The German’s second consecutive pole at the Hockenheimring came by .107 of a second over Hamilton. Rosberg heads into the German Grand Prix second in the championship standings, trailing Hamilton by six points.
Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“It’s not been a good weekend so far. We’ve had our problems, and things didn’t really go our way in qualifying either. The guys in the garage did an amazing job to get the car back together for qualifying after the gearbox issue this morning. I was feeling more comfortable in the car and I felt we had a good chance. Sadly, the last run in Q2 just didn’t work. I don’t know what happened. There was no grip. It’s tricky to find the right balance. We’ve got good top speed in the car and, hopefully, it behaves so I can have a good race.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“It was an interesting qualifying. I was pushing all the way as I really wanted to get into Q3. I took all the available risks that I could and I really enjoyed it out there. I’m happy the way we worked as a team. It proves that from Friday to Saturday we are making good progress and this gives me a lot of confidence. I’m really proud of the whole team. P11 is a good place to start and it leaves me hungry to keep pushing for the next one to try to get into Q3. Tomorrow I’m going to give it everything from the start and fight all the way with the guys in front to get into the top-10.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“We are 11th, again. It’s getting old. We should be happy by being 11th, but we just want to make the jump to Q3. That’s what we are working hard for. Esteban did a fantastic job in getting where we are. Romain was slightly handicapped not being able to run in FP3 due to an issue with the gearbox which happened when he spun. Some parts were damaged inside the gearbox, so he had limited track time, but he still got it into Q2. We are always so close. We’re confident it will come, but we now have to wait until after the summer break. Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll finish better than 11th as we’ll be fighting hard to get into the points.”