United States Grand Prix: Qualifying Report

Event:  Qualifying for the United States Grand Prix (Round 17 of 20)

Date:  Saturday, Oct. 21

Location:  Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas

Layout:  5.513-kilometer (3.426-mile), 20-turn track

Weather:  Partly sunny

Air Temps:  31.5-32.1 degrees Celsius (88.7-89.8 degrees Fahrenheit)

Track Temps:  38.6-40.6 degrees Celsius (101.5-105.1 degrees Fahrenheit)

Pole Winner:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:33.108 – new track record)

Result:  Romain Grosjean qualified 14th / Kevin Magnussen qualified 20th

NOTE:  Due to grid penalties incurred by others, Grosjean will start 12th.

●  Lasts 18 minutes, with all 20 drivers participating

●  Fastest 15 drivers advance to Q2

Grosjean:  15th quick (1:36.835), advanced to Q2

Magnussen:  20th quick (1:37.394)

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:34.822)

Cutoff:  15th-quick Romain Grosjean of Haas F1 Team (1:36.835)

●  Lasts 15 minutes, featuring the 15 fastest drivers from Q1

●  Fastest 10 drivers advance to Q3

Grosjean:  14th quick (1:35.870)

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:33.437)

Cutoff:  10th-quick Esteban Ocon of Force India (1:35.113)

●  Lasts 12 minutes, featuring the 10 fastest drivers from Q2, all battling for the pole

Pole Winner:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:33.108)

Second:  Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari (1:33.347)

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified 14th and 20th, respectively, for the United States Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. However, Grosjean will start 12th because of grid penalties incurred by others who qualified ahead of him.

Grosjean set the 15th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:36.835 around the 5.513-kilometer (3.426-mile), 20-turn track. Magnussen was 20th quickest with a lap of 1:37.394. Just the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.

In Q2, Grosjean earned the 14th fastest time with a lap of 1:35.870. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 advance to Q3.

Both Grosjean and Magnussen ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.

Taking the pole for the United States Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:33.108 was .239 of a second better than runner-up Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari and it set a new all-time fastest lap at COTA. It was Hamilton’s 72nd career Formula One pole, his 11th of the season and third in a row. It was Hamilton’s second career pole at COTA, as he was the pole winner for last year’s United States Grand Prix.

Before Grosjean, Magnussen and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final, 60-minute practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track.

Magnussen set the 16th-fastest time with a 1:37.271 on his 16th and final lap. Grosjean tallied nine laps and earned his best time on his sixth lap – a 1:37.891 that put him 19th overall.

Grosjean’s FP3 session was cut short when a spin in turn seven sent him into the gravel trap with just under 30 minutes remaining. The car was relatively unharmed, but it was stuck. A crane had to lift his Haas VF-17 out of the gravel and place it onto a flatbed for delivery back to the garage upon the conclusion of FP3.

Both drivers began FP3 on the Red supersoft tires. Magnussen switched to ultrasofts in the final 12 minutes to make some mock qualifying runs.

Quickest in FP3 was Hamilton, whose fast lap of 1:34.478 was .092 of a second better than next best Vettel.

“It’s been a tough weekend up to qualifying. I hadn’t run any ultrasofts before qualifying. Yesterday we broke a part on a quali run, and today I spun in FP3 before I could try them. The incident with Lance Stroll (unnecessarily impeding another driver) was unexpected, and pretty close. I was lucky not to spin on the grass, which would’ve been a disaster. It would’ve been the end of qualifying. We went through to Q2, which was good as it was the maximum we had in the car. We pushed really hard and closed the gap from seven tenths to two tenths to the guys in front, but we still haven’t really been performing well this weekend. I think it’s more tire related, and that’s where we’ve got such a strong swing of performance. We need to get on top of that. Hopefully, we can give the fans something special for tomorrow.”

(Stroll was going slow on the outside of the track between turns 19-20 while Grosjean was on a qualifying run. As Grosjean came off turn 19, he was suddenly upon Stroll’s Williams. Grosjean had to take evasive action to avoid him, darting right onto the grass and then deftly wheeling his Haas VF-17 back onto the racetrack. – Ed.)

“Something wasn’t right. I mean, we haven’t had it right all weekend, but suddenly I didn’t have any grip at all and I have no idea why. I don’t have any answers for why I was the slowest car on track. It’s very disappointing. It felt like the tires weren’t even new. It felt like a used set – it was new, but the feeling was very bad. And then, of course, I got in the way of Sergio (Perez). He was on an out lap and I didn’t let him through, so I can understand if he’s pretty angry with that, but I can only say it was a mistake."

“Not the easiest of days for us today. It looked like Kevin just couldn’t find a balance on his fast lap. Romain did the best he could do with the car to get his fast lap. With Romain starting 12th after penalties for the other guys, we’ll try to get in the points tomorrow with him. It’ll be more difficult for Kevin starting in the back, but with the starts he’s had in these last races, you never know where he could end up by turn one. Now we get prepared for tomorrow and try to do our best.”