Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Pietro Fittipaldi qualified 17th and 19th, respectively, for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final round of the 17-race 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at Yas Marina Circuit – though Magnussen takes penalties for Power Unit Element changes and starts from the back of the grid.
Both Magnussen and Fittipaldi exited qualifying after the opening knockout session – Q1. The first cars on track, they both headed straight out in their VF-20’s on Pirelli’s P Zero Red softs with a clear track ahead of them. Magnussen clocked a 1:38.086 on his opening tour with Fittipaldi just a tenth of a second behind setting a 1:38.173 lap. The Brazilian, in only his second-ever Formula 1 qualifying session, couldn’t improve on his opening time on his next two runs – placing 19th at the end of Q1. Magnussen failed to go faster on his second attempt but his third and final run delivered a 1:37.863 – good for 17th on the timesheet for the Dane.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing claimed pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Q3 – the Dutchman’s first P1 of the season and his third career Formula 1 pole. His quick lap of 1:35.246 beat Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes by .025 of a second.
Pietro Fittipaldi: “We made some changes after FP3, the engineers really did a great job. I really felt confident with the car in qualifying. We were about a tenth off of Kevin (Magnussen) on my first run, but we knew we could make steps forward. Unfortunately, we were trying to do three runs in Q1 and when I came in after my first run I got called to the FIA weigh-bridge. We lost a lot of time there and we were just trying to catch up after. The second run was a bit of a wash – it was rushed. I then had traffic in the last sector on my final run, and Latifi spun on the exit of the last corner ahead of me. So, basically my third run wasn’t a proper one. At the end though, I was still really competitive in comparison with Kevin – as I said last week, he’s a great reference for me. I’m really happy with the step forward we made today.”
Kevin Magnussen: “The car was fine, I just didn’t really have the qualifying session I should have had, especially on the last run when I had a tow. It wasn’t great, but we knew it didn’t matter as I’m starting last no matter what. It’s always really cool to drive a Formula 1 car though, especially in qualifying spec – it’s always enjoyable. The car has actually felt pretty good all weekend. I’m looking forward to the race now. It’s tough starting last but I’ll go out and try and have some fun in my last race with the team.”
Guenther Steiner: “No real surprises again in qualifying today. Clearly, we’re not happy to be where we are, it’s not something we can be comfortable with as a team – and we’re not. Focusing on the positives from the session, Pietro (Fittipaldi) looked confident in the car in Q1 and he was right up with Kevin (Magnussen) at the end of his first run. We obviously knew it didn’t matter where Kevin qualified, he’ll be at the back of the grid tomorrow due to the penalties incurred. That just about sums up our season. That said, there’s no lack of effort from everyone on the team, Sunday’s race will see us continue to work hard and hope that something comes our way to end the year.”
Check out our Saturday gallery from Yas Island, here.