Haas hail ‘unbelievable’ qualifying – but anticipate tricky race
Haas caused a shock at Interlagos on Saturday as they got both cars in the top 10 for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix in May – and with a car that is essentially Melbourne-spec to boot. But with hotter conditions expected on Sunday, both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen expect life to get more difficult…
The American team’s cars looked pretty quick on Friday – but we’ve been here before, with the pace tailing off as the weekend went on. That said, the cooler conditions – track temperatures are around 20C lower than they are expected to be on Sunday – have played into their hands, as they have been able to get the tyres in the right window more consistently.
Grosjean hooked up a series of good laps to finish eighth – and even hinted he could have got Pierre Gasly for seventh had he successfully picked up a tow from pole-sitter Max Verstappen – with Magnussen having a slightly scrappier time of it in Q3 and ending up 10th. Both drivers are set to start one place higher on Sunday once Charles Leclerc takes his 10-place grid drop, however.
I’m happy for the team. Bear in mind it is the car from Melbourne
“A brilliant job by the team, having both cars into Q3 is unbelievable,” said Grosjean. “Tomorrow may be a different day [because of the warmer temperatures] but it doesn’t matter, we take the pleasure from today.
“It’s been great. In free practice, we didn’t get to show the speed we had, but I had confidence we would be around P11.
“Then Q2 went really well and Q3 not too bad. I was following Verstappen, which was not a good idea, as I didn’t get the tow – he was too fast and was too far away.
“I’m happy for the team. Bear in mind it is the car from Melbourne.”
Magnussen wasn’t shocked by their pace, considering that Haas have had a reasonable car in qualifying trim. But like Grosjean, he was expecting a challenging afternoon on Sunday.
“We’ve seen before this season that the car can qualify well,” said Magnussen. “I’ll be more surprised if we can keep the positions tomorrow. We’ve been off the pace in the last few races, so it’s good to be back in Q3 with both cars.
“It just shows we have some potential, it’s just we’re not able to unlock it very often with this car. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow but it’ll be hotter. Tyre management will be difficult.
“[The warmer conditions] should be an issue for us, in terms of keeping the tyres under control. So we will just do what we can and try and hang on, it’s not going to be easy. But we’ll do what we normally do, and try and hang on to it.”
With Alfa Romeo just seven points clear in the constructors’ championship, it’ll be very much game on for eighth if Haas can convert these top 10 starting spots into points on Sunday.
The constructors' standings pre-Brazil
|3 Red Bull Racing||366|
|6 Racing Point||65|
|7 Toro Rosso||64|
|8 Alfa Romeo Racing||35|
|9 Haas F1 Team||28|