Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean earned strong starting positions for Sunday’s German Grand Prix by advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying Saturday at the Hockenheimring. The duo qualified an impressive fifth and sixth, respectively, as the American squad placed both its drivers into Q3 for the fourth straight race, as well as the sixth time this season.
Magnussen’s performance gave Haas F1 Team its best qualifying effort to date, bettering its previous best of sixth, earned most recently by Grosjean June 30 during the Austrian Grand Prix, and by Magnussen and Grosjean in the 2018 and 2017 Australian Grands Prix, respectively. The German Grand Prix is the 11th race of 2018 and just the 52nd race for Haas F1 Team since its debut in the 2016 Australian Grand Prix.
Grosjean set the fourth-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:12.986 around the 4.574-kilometer (2.842-mile), 17-turn circuit in Baden-Württemberg, earning the highest mark in any round of qualifying for Haas F1 Team in its three-year history. Magnussen was seventh quickest with a lap of 1:13.105. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.
In Q2, Magnussen earned the fifth-fastest time with a lap of 1:12.523 and Grosjean was right behind in sixth with a lap of 1:12.722, allowing each driver to handily make the top-10 cutoff and advance to Q3.
Q3 featured the heavy hitters of Formula One, with four-time and reigning champion Mercedes, 16-time champion Scuderia Ferrari and four-time champion Red Bull all represented, albeit with marquee drivers Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) missing after both encountered mechanical issues that kept them out of Q3. Haas F1 Team nevertheless held its own among these giants, with Magnussen qualifying a best-of-the-rest fifth with a lap of 1:12.200 and Grosjean taking sixth with a lap of 1:12.544.
It was Magnussen’s second top-five qualifying effort in the German Grand Prix, as he qualified fourth at the Hockenheimring in 2014. This was Grosjean’s best qualifying performance at the Hockenheimring and his second-best qualifying effort in the German Grand Prix, as he qualified fifth at the Nurburgring in 2013.
Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.
Taking the pole for the German Grand Prix was Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. His fast lap of 1:11.212 set a new track qualifying record at the Hockenheimring and was .204 of a second better than runner-up Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes. It was Vettel’s 55th career Formula One pole, his fifth this season and his second at the Hockenheimring.
Before Magnussen, Grosjean 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. Unfortunately, rain dominated the session, with both Haas F1 Team drivers confined to the garage following a two-lap exploratory run on the Pirelli Cinturato Blue full wet tire. A handful of drivers did venture onto the track in the final minutes. Sauber’s Charles Leclerc set the quickest time among the nine drivers who turned any laps at speed, with his time of 1:34.577 being .423 of a second faster than his nearest pursuer and teammate, Marcus Ericsson.