Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen failed to advance to the second round of qualifying of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and will start the race tomorrow in sixteenth and seventeenth place as the Formula One World Championship returned to the famous Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit (Imola).
The format of this weekend’s racing is reduced to two days, rather than the usual three, meaning the grid had one practice session before the grid qualification began. Grosjean had a more promising stint in practice, posting the thirteenth fastest time over 42 laps, however the Haas VF-20 lived to its expectations and was unable to provide the pace needed for both Grosjean and Magnussen to graduate to Q2.
Grosjean is more optimistic of the race pace, saying: “It’s tough not to get to Q2, especially after such a good lap. Kevin (Magnussen) is the same – we push each other so hard and we get to the absolute limit of the car. Unfortunately, today that’s only good enough for 16th and 17th. We’re normally better in the race than we are in qualifying. We obviously need to see how tire degradation plays a role tomorrow, but we will try for sure. We’ll give it 100 percent”
Magnussen, who has been more consistent in his pace on Saturday, will be starting in seventeenth place, two places ahead of where he placed in this morning’s qualifying session. “I enjoyed the session. It’s a really cool track to drive. Of course, I’m not too happy with the result – though I think this weekend we appear to be a little bit stronger.” Said Kevin.
He believed he had the pace to carry through to Q2, but his VF-20 befell issues with the gearbox and traffic during the 18 minute session.
“We should have been through to Q2, but I didn’t have a smooth qualifying. I had traffic and I had a gearbox problem – nothing serious, but it cost me lap time on my fastest laps,” he added. “The gap to get through to Q2 was very small, so it’s a bit frustrating when you look at that. Anyway, we are where we are. I’m looking forward to a fun race, and as I said – it’s a really cool track, so I’ll enjoy that at least. I’ll try to do my best as always to get something out of it.”
Team Principal Gunther Steiner, praised the two-day format of the weekend, but was indifferent about the team’s performance in the sessions: “The positive thing is, having only one free practice session seems to be working. I think the whole paddock did a good job, there was no drama, nothing. That is a good thing. Then qualifying – well there’s not a lot to say. We are where we are usually. We’re fighting with our closest opponents, and that’s what we do. Tomorrow in the race, maybe we can get some points.”