Mixed feelings for Haas after botched qualifying

Haas F1 Team put in a rather modest performance in its first ever F1 qualifying session today in Melbourne.

Both cars fell under the eliminating hammer of time fairly quickly in Q1, just after both Manors had been axed.

While Grosjean was over a second clear of Gutierrez, the performance was a disappointment for the French driver but viewed as mixed by team boss Guenther Steiner.

“I’m happy/unhappy, because if you look at our times on our second attempt they weren’t bad,” Steiner said.

“So if somebody analyses them we are pretty good. What we underestimated is what both drivers did on their first lap with the new tyres.

“Romain had a lockup with the brakes and Esteban had another small problem or small issue. So we know where that came from.

“We should have called them in after the first lap and aborted the second lap so we would have had enough time to re-prepare the car, we would have been off by maybe 10 or 20 seconds and then we would have moved on.”

While it’s all still a work in progress for Haas, Steiner believes that based on the potential of its VF-16, the team is confident it can move forward tomorrow when the lights turn green.

“I know that the car has potential. For sure to be on the second last row is not fantastic for tomorrow but I’m still confident that we have a good shot at it tomorrow to move forward.

“The car has got the speed, the balance, so I’m pretty positive about the future. It’s not like I would say: ‘What next? What do we have to develop?’ We don’t have to do anything, we just have to do a better job.”

The Haas team boss also touched on the close encounter suffered by Grosjean in the morning’s FP3 when the Frenchman had acontact in the pit lane with Rio Haryanto’s Manor, the Indonesion clipping the ride hand side of the Haas as the pair exited their boxes simultaneously.

“I mean, I wasn’t pleased with that! I think it was a mistake that shouldn’t happen. Obviously the FIA gave them penalties, so they took the right measures, but we should be above this.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. We tried to keep our nose clean and then somebody drives in to us. It’s not very clever.”

As it happened: Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix

F1i’s Australian Grand Prix preview

2016 F1 season: Team-by-team preview

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