Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner joked that being 11th is “starting to get old” after seeing Romain Grosjean narrowly miss out on the team’s first Q3 appearance in Hungary.
Grosjean and teammate Esteban Gutierrez were well inside the top 10 after completing their final lap times, only for a flurry of improvements on a rapidly-drying track to bump them down to 11th and 15th respectively.
Grosjean believed that Q3 was within Haas’ reach in Hungary, but instead suffered his ninth straight Q2 exit.
“It was close. We were only one-tenth off of Lewis [Hamilton’s] P10 time,” Grosjean said.
“All things considered, to be that close, it’s a good thing. We successfully made all the right decisions at the right time in qualifying, including tire choices.
“It was a very difficult qualifying session, but we showed how much we’ve improved as a team from day one through today. We were perfect today in our execution. We were fast on both the extreme wet and intermediate tires. We weren’t too bad on slicks.
“I know that tenth-of-a-second that denied us today is somewhere in there. I’m pretty happy with everything.
“If it doesn’t rain tomorrow it’s going to be boiling hot, and that always makes for a good race.”
Like Grosjean, Steiner looked on the bright side of the result, but joked he was tired of Haas narrowly missing out on the top 10.
“It was quite an exciting qualifying session with a lot of action out there,” Steiner said.
“To keep cool in this situation is very difficult, but I think the team did a good job. We managed everything very well, so we’ve no regrets.
“We ended up 11th and 15th. Being 11th is starting to get old, but at least by being there Romain can start on new tires, so that will be an advantage.
“Esteban can make his way up. He’s in good company, with Kimi [Raikkonen] just ahead. We’re almost there, but still not in Q3, which is where we want to be.
“But 11th is a good starting position. Tomorrow we’re confident we can move up. We’ll be trying hard to get points.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App from 7am ET on Sunday.