Romain Grosjean was credited with the ninth-fastest time (1:31.756), just missing advancing to Q3 by one position.
With Formula One keeping its new elimination-style qualifying format in place for Bahrain, Haas F1 Team spent much of the buildup to Saturday’s knock-out session practicing its car turnaround times. The crew’s hard work and skillful execution, combined with some sublime driving from Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez, ensured another milestone for the team as both drivers graduated from Q1 to Q2 for the first time. The entire 22-car field opted to run the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires for qualifying. It was quickly evident the pace of the Haas VF-16 would be strong enough to see the team progress into the second of three qualifying rounds. Completing Q1 in 11th and 13th, respectively, Grosjean and Gutiérrez entered into Q2 for the first time in only the team’s second grand prix weekend. Ultimately, Grosjean was credited with the ninth-fastest time (1:31.756), just missing advancing to Q3 by one position. The silver lining, however, is that it allowed Grosjean to save a set of tires for the race. Gutiérrez earned the 13th-quickest time (1:31.945). Lewis Hamilton broke the track qualifying record to secure the pole, his third at Bahrain. His record-setting lap time of 1:29.493 – the fastest ever at Bahrain – bettered the previous mark of 1:29.848, set by Fernando Alonso in 2005 when he was with Renault. Romains Grosjean - Driver No 8: “Our position is higher than our expectations, so that’s good. Everyone worked brilliantly. I was talking with Guenther (Steiner, team principal) before qualifying and he said this session would be a big test for us. Every time we go out on track, we’re learning more. I’m very proud of my guys. Tomorrow is a long race – a difficult race with the tire choices – but I think it’s possible to have a good time. We’re hoping for more points, but it’s a very different track from Australia. I’m looking forward to going racing.” Esteban Gutiérrez - Driver No 21: “It was a very tight and very competitive qualifying for us today. I had quite a lot of traffic at first, so it was tricky to prepare the tires on the out-laps. Therefore, my first time in Q1 wasn’t great. However, the second time was a lot better. Going into Q2 was a fantastic effort from the team to get everything prepared. Again, I found there was a lot of traffic in front, so it was wasn’t ideal. However, the most important thing for us to do now is to concentrate on the race and obtaining points. We are P13 and we’ll do our best to maximize everything for tomorrow.” Guenther Steiner