Haas speed in Australian Formula 1 qualifying surprises rivals

The Williams Formula 1 team was surprised to be beaten by Haas in Australian Grand Prix qualifying, while Daniil Kvyat hopes Romain Grosjean's effort was the "lap of his life"

Haas speed in Australian Formula 1 qualifying surprises rivals

Grosjean recorded Haas's best-ever grid position by qualifying sixth in Melbourne, ending up four tenths of a second clear of Felipe Massa's Williams.

The Frenchman's Q3 effort also vaulted Haas clear of Toro Rosso, Force India and Renault in the tight midfield battle, having been neck-and-neck with those teams throughout practice.

"The Haas was a surprise and well done to them," said new Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.

"We hadn't seen it coming because Romain didn't get a great lap in Q2."

Grosjean admitted he was not expecting such a strong performance after "struggling to find my marks" in testing.

"Some of the guys were optimistic," he said. "Things were not really going the way I wanted.

"The first lap I did here, I felt the car was better and the first run was good so we can build from there

"From seventh realistically, because [Daniel] Ricciardo went out, to 14th is pretty tight.

"It is going to be intense."

Kvyat will start the race ninth, one place behind team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, with Toro Rosso the only one of the midfield teams to get both cars into the final part of qualifying.

"They [Haas] were normal in Q1 and Q2, but then in Q3 it was a very strong lap," said Kvyat.

"Massa felt within the reach, definitely. It was peanuts difference.

"But he [Grosjean] looked quite impressive. Let's hope it's just a lap of his life."

MASSA DISAPPOINTED BY DEFEAT

Massa, who managed just six laps in second practice to an electrical problem, said he was "a little bit" disappointed to wind up behind Haas.

Williams was the strongest midfield team in testing and was predicted to be just ahead in the fight to be fourth behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

"I was a little bit surprised because I was in front of him in Q1 and Q2," said Massa.

"Maybe I expected to be a little bit better, like I was in Barcelona.

"Maybe we could have gone one tenth quicker, but not fourth tenths."

Esteban Ocon conceded "the Haas is a little faster" than Force India at present.

"It's so close that the driver in the midfield can make a difference for sure," said Ocon. "That's cool."

Grosjean's team-mate Kevin Magnussen said he was not surprised by the team's performance because it "ran quite heavy" in testing, something Renault driver Jolyon Palmer also noticed.

"It's very impressive, Grosjean's done a good job there," said Palmer, who will start 19th with his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg 12th.

"In testing I thought they were holding something back still, because they did last year.

"They have a good chance to make a good start."

Haas has also pit its T-wing back on the car after being forced to remove it on Friday.

shares
comments
Daniel Ricciardo labels Australian GP qualifying crash as 'weird'

Previous article

Daniel Ricciardo labels Australian GP qualifying crash as 'weird'

Next article

Hamilton is strongest he's ever been, says Mercedes F1 boss Wolff

Hamilton is strongest he's ever been, says Mercedes F1 boss Wolff
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021