Kevin Magnussen admitted he expected the Haas F1 Team to struggle during Qualifying for the British Grand Prix on Saturday, and he was proven right as he found himself eliminated at the first hurdle.
Magnussen’s best time was only good enough for sixteenth fastest, although grid penalties for both Daniil Kvyat and George Russell will see him start fourteenth for Sunday’s race at Silverstone.
The Dane felt qualifying ahead of the two Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen, was always the target as they seem to be their main rivals at this point of the season as Haas continue to have performance issues.
“We saw this coming,” admitted Magnussen. “It was our expectation coming into this race weekend, but we did the job that we could in qualifying ahead of the Alfa Romeos, who are our main competitors.
“That’s all we can do at the moment. There’s a bit of a jump to the next group. As long as we make sure we get the most out of qualifying, even though we’re a little weak there, that’s what we have to focus on – being as high up there as we can.
“There are a few guys now that might have some penalties, so that might push us a little bit further up the grid. Who knows, that might move us closer to hopefully scoring points again.”
Romain Grosjean: “We had three attempts in Q1 but none of them were really good”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean ended nineteenth fastest after three below-par runs, but he too will profit from penalties to move up two places on the grid for the race.
The Frenchman was happier with the feeling of the car during Saturday morning’s free practice session but changes were made to the car ahead of Qualifying, changes that made the car more difficult to drive.
“I felt really good in FP3, I was happy with the car, especially with the balance,” said Grosjean. “We made a few changes for qualifying, but the car just didn’t behave the same.
“That’s really something we’ve been suffering with – session-to-session it’s not quite the same. It was complicated. We had three attempts in Q1 but none of them were really good.
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow. We’re in England, lots can happen with the weather. It was supposed to rain for qualifying and we’ve got blue sky. Maybe tomorrow will be the opposite and we can take advantage of it.”
“It’s just so difficult for us to get out of Q1” – Guenther Steiner
Team Principal Guenther Steiner admits Haas are finding it difficult to escape Q1 at this point of the season, so the result of Qualifying was not unexpected on Saturday.
Haas scored their first point of the season last time out at the Hungaroring when Magnussen was classified tenth, and Steiner hopes the race pace this Sunday will be strong so they can be in contention for another top ten result at Silverstone.
“I’m not really happy with the result, but it’s not unexpected after the free practices we’ve had at the circuit,” said Steiner. “It’s just so difficult for us to get out of Q1, that’s where we are now.
“There’s nothing else to do than to go through it, and hopefully tomorrow our starting slots will be a bit better once penalties are applied to the grid. We’ll try to get the race pace together like we did in Hungary and hopefully we can make something out of it.”