The Haas F1 Team endured a tough debut qualifying session in Formula One at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit on Saturday.

Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez had been performing well in the session and had looked on target to get into Q2 with the Ferrari powered VF16 however they were both beaten by the clock and as a result they start the race in 19th and 20th place respectively just ahead of the Manor Racing duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.

Speaking following the session, Romain Grosjean commented by saying:

I was on a good lap and then suddenly I’m out. I don’t even get a chance to go to the end of the lap. That’s annoying because the car was good, our baseline is good, and in terms of performance, we were clearly able to go through. We just missed a bit of speed on the turnaround in the garage, so we were massively out of position. This is one of those races where it’s tricky and you need to finish. That’s our first call for tomorrow though. That’s what Gene (Haas, chairman) wants. From there, everything is possible. It’s a long race and we have new rules with the radio ban, so we just have to try to use the experience.”

Esteban Gutierrez taking part in his first qualifying since 2014 will start the race from 20th place and speaking after the session the Mexican commented by saying:

It was a little frustrating not to see the lap time we achieved reflected in the results. However, we know the potential is there. Overall, I think we’ve had a very tricky weekend, but with more time we’ll become more efficient as a team. The good thing is we know the lap time was good enough to be further up the grid. Looking ahead, we need to be positive, to keep working hard and moving forward.

Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner commented on the outfit’s first session by saying:

I think I’ve never been happy and unhappy at the same time. Today showed the potential of the car, but we were unable to use it because when we went out we made a few mistakes. Our first lap didn’t stick, and when we went out again we missed out by a few seconds. However, now we know where everyone is, so tomorrow in the race we’ll try to do the best we can to get up there. It was a challenging weekend to get here, but we didn’t do anything completely wrong, which is a success for us as a new team. Now we look forward to the race, and I can’t wait.

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