The Haas F1 Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, believes that his two cars are in a “good position to score points tomorrow” after a brilliant effort in qualifying saw Romain Grosjean finish in ninth, with his team mate, Esteban Gutiérrez behind him in 13th.
Haas have kicked their 2016 Formula One campaign off well after using a bold strategy to finish sixth in Melbourne and gain fifth position in the Constructors Championship, placing them ahead of established teams such as Force India and Toro Rosso. With a promising weekend so far, Haas has a chance to cement their place and pull out a gap over their rivals if they can score points again.
Haas hit the ground running in free practice three this morning; Grosjean led from the front as he finished sixth in the one hour session with Gutiérrez following behind in eighth place. Both drivers completed 14 timed laps. Haas didn’t appear to have any reliability issues during this session after a niggly Friday, allowing them to take confidence into qualifying.
Haas would have to get it right though, as the FIA opted not to change the qualifying system back to that of 2015. The new elimination system effectively means drivers have to be two steps ahead of everyone else to avoid the drop zone, as the confusing 90 second eliminations can throw surprises.
As Q1 began, there was no question that Haas would get through. Both drivers looked to be on equally strong form, as Grosjean proved to again be a slight bit quicker than Gutiérrez, finishing 11th and 13th respectively. They were split by only 0.113 seconds. Both drivers progressed through to Q2.
Q2 would be harder session for the team, as many predicted that Grosjean could potentially make it to Q3. First knocked out of the session was Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull, as he unfortunately was left at the bottom when many drivers improved their lap times just before the cut off. Next, Jenson Button would be eliminated, with Gutiérrez being falling into the drop zone. With not enough time to set another lap, Gutiérrez secured 13th position. Grosjean on the other hand narrowly missed Q3 as he finished ninth, just over a tenth of a second off Nico Hülkenberg in eighth.
After his session, Romain Grosjean commented: “Our position is higher than our expectations, so that’s good. Everyone worked brilliantly. Tomorrow is a long race – a difficult race with the tire choices – but I think it’s possible to have a good time. We’re hoping for more points, but it’s a very different track from Australia. I’m looking forward to going racing”.
Esteban Gutiérrez echoed Grosjean. “Going into Q2 was a fantastic effort from the team to get everything prepared,” he explained. “However, the most important thing for us to do now is to concentrate on the race and obtaining points. We are P13 and we’ll do our best to maximize everything for tomorrow”.
The 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix gets underway on the April 3 and everyone at Haas is certainly confident that they can score serious points in the race. The forecast is good and everyone is expecting a cracking race with Haas hoping for a double points finish.