Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified seventh and 15th, respectively, for the Austrian Grand Prix Sunday at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Grosjean, however, will start sixth due to a five-place grid penalty being served by Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver qualified third but incurred the penalty with a gearbox change following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The FIA requires gearboxes to last six straight events and the gearbox in Hamilton’s car did not meet this requirement.
Grosjean’s starting position equals Haas F1 Team’s best grid slot to date. Grosjean qualified an outright sixth for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix eight races ago.
The sixth-place starting spot was earned by Grosjean advancing all the way to Q3 for the fourth time this season. He set the eighth-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:05.902 around the 4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile), 10-turn track to move on to Q2. He then set a 1:05.319 in Q2 to record the seventh-quickest time and advance into the final round of qualifying. There, a lap of 1:05.480 before an electronic issue forced Grosjean to stop on track maintained his seventh-place standing.
Magnussen likely would’ve joined his teammate in Q3, but a suspension failure at the end of Q1 thwarted those plans. Magnussen recorded the 12-fastest lap in Q1 with a 1:06.143 to send him into Q2. But the broken suspension could not be repaired in time for Magnussen to get back on track, so he was unable to set a time in Q2, leaving him 15th.
Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.
Taking the pole for the Austrian Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. His fast lap of 1:04.251 set a new track record, beating the previous track record time of 1:05.092 set only a few hours earlier by Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in final practice (FP3). Bottas earned his second career pole by beating Vettel by just .042 of a second.
Before Grosjean, Magnussen and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track. Both drivers started FP3 utilizing Red supersoft tires for an installation lap followed by a 10-lap timed run. To emulate qualifying, both drivers ran their final outing on Purple ultrasofts.
Magnussen ran 21 laps and set the seventh-fastest time in FP3 with a 1:05.936 on his 16th lap. Grosjean tallied 22 laps and followed with the eighth-quickest time – a 1:06.015 earned on his 14th lap.
Quickest in FP3 was Vettel, whose fast lap of 1:05.092 was .269 of a second better than his nearest pursuer, Hamilton.