Haas F1 drivers downbeat after rough home qualifying in Austin

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Haas Formula 1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez were left downbeat after a rough home qualifying session for the American team in Austin, Texas on Saturday afternoon.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will see his F1 operation race in the United States Grand Prix for the first time on Sunday, having joined the grid at the beginning of the season.

Gutierrez and Grosjean entered qualifying at the Circuit of The Americas hopeful of repeating their double-Q3 appearance in Japan two weeks ago.

However, Grosjean failed to make it past the first stage of qualifying, finishing 17th in Q1. It marked the first time since the Chinese Grand Prix in April that both Haas cars had not made it through to Q2.

“We’re missing downforce and we’re paying the heavy price. We just don’t have enough,” Grosjean explained to NBCSN after the session.

“Low speed is very diffiuclt for us. We had some pieces fall apart yesterday. Today was a good summary of what was yesterday. On back foot from the beginning. Didn’t have the grip.

“Yeah, we should be good on top speed. But the pace of the car is not better than where we are.

“It’s not looking so good for tomorrow.”

Gutierrez managed to make it into the second stage of qualifying, but could only finish 14th-fastest as he also cited numerous difficulties over the USGP weekend so far.

“Obviously hasn’t been an easy start to the weekend,” Gutierrez told NBCSN.

“I couldn’t run my new front wing. There was a crack on the wing. Not able to repair it. We had some certain kind of disadvantage.

“We didn’t think about the result, just pushing the best as possible. Today we did. But we didn’t have tools for Q3.

“We did the best with what we have. I was putting all my energies into qualifying.

“We need to focus. We need to hope for an opportunity.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.