Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified sixth and 17th, respectively, for the Australian Grand Prix Sunday at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne.
Grosjean’s performance gave Haas F1 Team its best qualifying effort to date, bettering its previous best of seventh earned by Grosjean in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix. The Australian Grand Prix is the season-opening race of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship and it marks only the 22nd start for Haas F1 Team.
Grosjean set the 10th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:25.419 around the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn circuit to handily move into Q2. There, he set the eighth-quickest time with a lap of 1:24.718, solidly placing him among the top-10 and advancing him into Q3.
Q3 featured the heavy hitters of Formula One, with three-time and reigning champion Mercedes, four-time champion Red Bull and 16-time champion Scuderia Ferrari all represented. Grosjean held his own among these giants, qualifying sixth with a lap of 1:24.074.
Magnussen, meanwhile, ran wide at turn 12 on consecutive laps in Q1. His best lap was a 1:26.847, placing him 17th. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.
Both Grosjean and Magnussen ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.
Taking the pole for the Australian Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:22.188 set a new track qualifying record and was .268 of a second better than runner-up Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari. It was Hamilton’s 62nd career Formula One pole and his fifth straight, dating back to 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 practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track.
Grosjean tallied 11 laps and set the seventh-fastest time with a 1:25.581 on his 10th lap. Magnussen also ran 11 laps and earned his best time on his final lap – a 1:26.138 that put him 10th overall. Both drivers secured their quick times using the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire.
Quickest in FP3 was Vettel, whose fast lap of 1:23.380 was .479 of a second better than his nearest pursuer, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. Vettel broke the all-time lap record at the Albert Park Circuit in the process, bettering it by .149 of a second. It was Vettel who held the previous record – a 1:23.529 set during qualifying in 2011 when he was with Red Bull. Of course, the record was short-lived as Hamilton’s pole-winning mark obliterated Vettel’s FP3 time by 1.192 seconds.