Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying: Gutierrez 13th, Grosjean 14th
Haas F1 Team drivers Esteban Gutiérrez and Romain Grosjean qualified 13th and 14th, respectively, for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Sunday at Yas Marina Circuit.
Grosjean set the 12th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:41.467 and Gutiérrez was 14th quickest with a lap of 1:41.639. Only the top-16 drivers move on to Q2, and for the 16th time in its debut season, Haas F1 Team advanced both its pilots to the second round of knockout qualifying.
In Q2, Gutiérrez earned the 13th fastest time with a lap of 1:41.480 and Grosjean followed just behind his teammate in 14th with a lap of 1:41.564. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 move on to Q3.
Both Gutiérrez and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire throughout qualifying.
Taking the pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:38.755 was .303 of a second better than his nearest pursuer, teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. It was Hamilton’s 61st career Formula One pole, his 12th of the season and fourth in a row, and his third at Yas Marina Circuit. Even with Hamilton on the pole, Rosberg remains in the driver’s seat in the championship standings. He holds a 12-point advantage over Hamilton heading into Sunday’s race.
Before Gutiérrez, 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, or for a handful of drivers, make up for lost practice time on Friday.
To emulate qualifying, both Gutiérrez and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Purple ultrasofts, each utilizing two sets. Grosjean ran a total of nine laps on his first set while Gutiérrez recorded eight laps. Lap times tumbled as the session advanced with both drivers achieving their fastest laps during their second and final timed stints, which came in the last 15 minutes of the session.
Gutiérrez set the 10th fastest time with a 1:42.354 on his 11th lap from a total of 16. Grosjean tallied 17 laps, earning his best time on his 15th tour – a 1:42.805 that put him 15th overall.
Quickest in FP3 was Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari, whose fast lap of 1:40.775 was .137 of a second better than next-best Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“I’m disappointed with that qualifying session. Clearly, we were hoping for a bit better. We had a lot of problems yesterday and we were still hoping that we’d made the right decisions. We did as much as we could, but we need to get more understanding of the tires. I think we’re spending too much energy just to get all four corners working. It’s the same for everyone, so that’s where we need to focus. We’ve seen that when we get things right, like in Brazil, we’re very fast. When we’re not, we’re usually around 14thand 15th. That’s the number one priority for now. For the race tomorrow, I’ve got no idea what to think. I didn’t get to do any long runs. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“It’s been quite a tricky day, starting with FP3 conditions where it was pretty hot. Obviously, it was important to understand how the conditions would change the balance of the car going into qualifying with it going into the night and temperatures dropping. I feel very grateful to have achieved this result for my team. My group of mechanics and engineers having been giving it their best efforts even though it’s quite an emotional weekend for all of us being our last race together. They deserve to have my best, and I’ll give them the best of my focus, attitude and performance.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“It was an average day. I think for the last qualifying session of the season we did a decent job. Two weeks ago in Brazil it was better, but still, we are in a position to get into the points tomorrow. That would be a nice finish to our first season together. There’s some work ahead of us and we will try to get it done.”