Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner “pretty happy” with qualifying session in Abu Dhabi

Guenther Steiner remains in good spirits after the Haas F1 Team qualifies twelfth and sixteenth ahead of Sunday’s season finale in Abu Dhabi. Drivers Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen participated in the floodlit qualifying session on Saturday, Schumacher making twelfth and Magnussen making sixteenth. Steiner believes the team has a fighting chance of scoring points on Sunday. 

The final qualifying session of the season was a mixed tale for the two drivers. Magnussen, who will be driving alongside Nico Hülkenberg in the coming season, exited at the end of the opening Q1 stage after encountering an unfortunate hold-up of traffic in the final sector. The Dane achieved a best lap of 1:25.834s whilst sporting a second set of the Pirelli P Zero red soft tyres. The opportunity to improve on the lap was taken from him in the last half minute of the session, due to traffic on the circuit impacting his last flying attempt – extinguishing his chances of graduating to Q2.

Team-mate Schumacher fared better luck and steering in his VF-22 as he made it to eleventh on the timesheets in Q1, out-qualifying his team-mate in his final Grand Prix weekend for Haas. Schumacher’s participation in qualifying ended after Q2 when the driver narrowly missed out on Q3 by two-tenths of a second. The twenty-three-year-old will start his final as a Haas driver in twelfth after McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo takes a three-place grid penalty for a collision with Magnussen in Brazil the previous week.

Team Principal, Guenther Steiner was overall happy with the team’s performance and briefly touched on Magnussen unfortunately hitting the bout of traffic towards the end of the opening Q1.

“It wasn’t a bad qualifying session today, pretty happy. Kevin got into traffic a little bit and his tires weren’t working, so he couldn’t out of Q1. Mick did a very good job getting into Q2 and got a good result out of it. Starting tomorrow in P12 and P16 puts us in a position where we can score points.” 

Despite Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda just in front of Schumacher, Steiner is positive that the team will be in for the chance of scoring points to add to the team’s tally. Currently, only two points separate American team Haas and the ORACLE Red Bull Racing sister team, AlphaTauri in the Constructor’s Championship so a solid performance from the Haas drivers is required to extend the lead from AlphaTauri and secure the eighth place in the Championship.