It was a qualifying session with mixed fortunes for the Haas F1 Team in Australia on Saturday, with Romain Grosjean sixth on the grid and Kevin Magnussen seventeenth.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner admitted Magnussen has had a very testing weekend with issues with his VF-17 that led to the Dane heading into qualifying without any knowledge on how the Ultrasoft Pirelli tyre worked on the car, although he made progress during final practice on Saturday morning with his set-up.
“It’s been a great weekend for Romain. Not the same for Kevin,” said Steiner. “We had issues with his car. We couldn’t find a balance, so he didn’t run properly in the free practice sessions. He never tried the Ultrasoft tire over the weekend, so he went into qualifying with an unknown. It didn’t work out. I think we made good progress in FP3 and it will come.”
Steiner praised Grosjean for the way he made it through to the top ten shootout, with the Frenchman taking the best ever qualifying result for the team.
“Again, great for Romain,” said Steiner. “He put a lap down, second to none, I would say. Thanks to all the time again because what they did was fantastic. It’s our best qualifying – sixth-place behind the big ones. That’s great for the youngest team on the grid.”
Steiner believes there is potential for a good result on Sunday, especially with Grosjean, but hopes Magnussen can move up the order as well, with the VF-17 showing good speed throughout the weekend at Albert Park.
“I hope we have a good race tomorrow,” said Steiner. “We are ready for it. The car seems to be on a good pace, on the long runs as well.
“Hopefully, we can get Kevin further up the field in the race. I think even where Kevin is we can still go for points. If we get a good start, everything is possible for both. The start is new for everybody and I hope we get a good one. You don’t know but we’ll try our best.
“It’ll be an interesting day at the front end. It seems like it’s closer than it’s been in a long time. So, let’s see what happens.”