Gutierrez, Haas “break the barrier” to make first Q3 run at Monza

Getty Images

Esteban Gutierrez has delivered Gene Haas’ team its maiden Q3 appearance, and will start 10th for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix (7 a.m. ET, NBCSN).

The young Mexican has been first of the Haas F1 Team’s pair of drivers to crack into the top 10, which marks a remarkable achievement for the team in just its 14th Grand Prix as an outfit – and the last race of the European season before the remaining flyaway rounds.

Gutierrez ran a best time of 1:23.386 in Q1 to advance into Q2 and supplanted that then, running at 1:22.856, which was seventh in Q2. Both of those times were set on Pirelli’s supersoft tires.

Despite a ragged lap from Gutierrez in Q3 – he ran wide at the second Lesmo – he’ll still start 10th for tomorrow’s race.

Post-qualifying, Gutierrez reflected on the accomplishment primarily for the entirety of the Haas team.

“It was fantastic. A great effort from the whole team,” Gutierrez told NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

“Being very consistent in last few months has helped us to focus on the details that make the difference.

“Today, we broke that barrier into the top 10. We want to establish it and make it solid for tomorrow.”

Gutierrez should be locked in a midfield scrap for the lower regions of the points. But the driver who’s come 11th on multiple occasions this season has a great chance of securing his first points finish this season, and first overall in his career since his first and thus far only F1 points score – seventh at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix then driving for Sauber.

“It looks solid. I pushed the limit. We might be a bit off position to the front,” Gutierrez explained. “It was great to do good laps in qualifying. Tomorrow we have to optimize all we have to make it work.

“We’ll do our best. I will push. It’s the best position ever for us.”

While the day was stellar for Gutierrez, teammate Romain Grosjean had a tougher go of it with an off in FP3 this morning and a five-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change. Grosjean qualified 12th, but will roll off 17th on Sunday.