Haas F1 Team’s final practice prior to qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix proved to be an improvement from yesterday’s two practice sessions. After an electrical issue held the VF-16 of Esteban Gutiérrez to just nine laps in Friday’s second practice, Gutiérrez was able to log 17 laps on Saturday, with a best time of 1:25.130, placing him 17th overall. Romain Grosjean also made headway, tallying 13 laps with a best time of 1:24.981 to slot him 14th on the board. After making their installation laps on the Pirelli P Zero Orange hard tire, both drivers switched to the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire for the remainder of the session. Fast time in final practice was earned by Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:23.078), who also ran the Yellow softs.
The sunny sky and comfortable weather enjoyed in practice continued in qualifying, with a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit). Both Haas F1 Team drivers put forth a solid qualifying effort, as Grosjean and Gutiérrez advanced to round two, each utilizing the Yellow softs throughout.
Gutiérrez scored the eighth-fastest lap (1:24.406) in Q1 to advance to Q2, and Grosjean made the cut by posting the 16th-quickest lap (1:24.716). In Q2, Grosjean made two runs, and his first proved to be his best. Grosjean’s lap of 1:24.480 placed him 14th. Gutiérrez also made two runs in Q2, with his second run earning the best time. Gutiérrez’s lap of 1:24.778 placed him 16th.
The battle for the pole was between Mercedes teammates Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton’s fast lap of 1:22.000 was .280 of a second better than Rosberg. It was Hamilton’s third pole of 2016 and the 52nd of his career.
Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“I think we did a great job and everyone worked very hard overnight to get a better car. It’s very close and very tight in terms of lap times. We couldn’t make it to Q3, but we weren’t that far off. We need to find some more speed but, generally, I’m very pleased with the way we worked. I’m very proud of all the guys.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“It was a great effort from the whole team to recover after the problems from yesterday. Today, I really enjoyed extracting the maximum on every run. I found a little inconsistency between the different sets of tires, but that’s something we can look into and try to improve to really get the best out of our setup. Now I’m looking ahead to the race tomorrow and fighting for positions. I’m excited to get back out there.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“Q1 was pretty good. Romain and Esteban did a great job, and I think we are back where we want to be. We finished up P14 and P16. I think we’re a little under where we could be, but it’s so close out there – so many are within three-tenths. You can be 10th or 15th. All in all, we are happy where we are. We got both cars into Q2, which is a good result for us. Tomorrow, we’ll head out and try and finish in the points.”