Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix saw Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez advance to the second round of knockout qualifying for the third time this season. Gutiérrez ultimately lead the way for the first-year team by setting the 12th-quickest time (1:15.293), while Grosjean was the 15th-fastest driver (1:15.571).
The day began with final practice on the historic 3.340-kilometer (2.075-mile) street circuit in Monte Carlo. The 60-minute session allowed Haas F1 Team to log 50 laps, with Gutiérrez recording 23 laps and Grosjean amassing 27 laps. Both drivers used the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire. Gutiérrez’s quick lap was 1:16.406, set during his initial, 11-lap run. Grosjean’s fastest time was 1:16.527, earned during his second, 14-lap stint. When the session ended, Gutiérrez was 15th overall and Grosjean was 17th.
Qualifying was a scrappy adventure for all, with two red-flag stoppages in Q1 – the first for Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and the second for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Shod on the Purple ultrasofts, Grosjean and Gutiérrez steered clear of trouble and qualified comfortably among the top-16 to advance to Q2. Grosjean’s best lap was 1:15.465 to put him eighth and Gutiérrez’s quick time was 1:15.592 to place him 14th.
In Q2, Grosjean and Gutiérrez each made two sets of timed laps during the 15-minute session. In his second stint, Gutiérrez set a mark of 1:15.293 to place him 12th – his best qualifying result of the season and five grid places higher than his previous best qualifying effort at Monaco, 17th in 2014. Grosjean, in his fifth consecutive Q2, set a fast time of 1:15.571 during his first stint to grab 15th.
For the 10 drivers advancing to Q3, the battle for the pole came down to Red Bull versus Mercedes. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took the pole over the dominant Mercedes team, his first in Formula One. Ricciardo’s pole-winning time of 1:13.622 edged out three-time Monaco Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg by a little over one tenth of a second (1:13.791).
Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“We had the speed to go into Q3. We showed that in Q1. Just two times there was traffic on my out laps in Q2. We went out behind the Mercedes and they were going slow and that’s what got me. If the tires had been ready for the first timed lap, everything would have been fine, but they’re really had to warm up. Everyone’s doing different things, of course. Mercedes has more downforce than others, so they were going slower when I needed faster out laps. It was tricky. Traffic is part of the game, but twice we went in exactly the same group of cars, and that didn’t help us. I think we could have made it to Q3 and that would have been a great achievement. The positives are that the car feels better, but the negative is that we are P15.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“I’m very happy with today. It’s been a positive day. At the start it was difficult to get the tires right, and run by run I was trying to modify and adapt to the circumstances. Finally, we got everything together. With a 12th position start in Monte Carlo, a lot can happen in the front. I’m very proud of the team and the work we’ve been doing. Communication has been improving. We’ve been understanding the car step by step, and this will give us a lot of confidence going forward. Overall, it’s been a very good day for us.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“I’m pretty happy with qualifying. Both drivers did a good job. For Esteban to start 12th in Monte Carlo is great. The whole team reacted to the situations that came up in qualifying very well. Romain was on a fast lap when he lost time in the middle sector, so we still need to investigate what happened there, but overall we’re happy to start where we’re placed. If you line up between 10th and 16th, anything can happen, and providing we don’t get involved in any incidents, anything is possible.”