Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team claims biggest success yet; pole position for Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Kevin Magnussen posts quickest time in Friday qualifying
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team celebrates pole position during the São Paulo GP at Autódromo...
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team celebrates pole position during the São Paulo GP at Autódromo José Carlos Pace on Friday November 11, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.(Mark Sutton | Mark Sutton / LAT Images)
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 7:25 PM EST
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - The Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team has scored its biggest success yet with driver Kevin Magnussen claiming the top spot for Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

“It’s a great moment for Haas F1 Team,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner. “We’ve waited seven years for this, and we work hard, it shows again that hard work and determination pays off. You have to be in the right place at the right time and I think we didn’t luck into this, we worked hard to be there. When it came to it, Kevin pulled the lap off and was better than the others out there in difficult conditions. To the whole team, I can’t say more than thank you and I think it’s a birthday present for the boss. I told Gene we had to do it a day early as we couldn’t change qualifying. Unfortunately, with Mick he was very quick on the intermediate tires but when we put the dry tires on for his last run, he couldn’t get the feeling with the car. Now we focus on tomorrow, we are still in a fight for eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship and we’ll put 100 percent effort to achieve it. Thanks again to the whole team and to the fans for supporting us all the time.”

Magnussen and Mick Schumacher qualified 1st and 20th respectively for Saturday’s 24-lap Sprint race – the result of which will then determine the grid for Sunday’s 71-lap São Paulo Grand Prix, Round 21 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship hosted at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

The single free practice before qualifying saw both VF-22s fully utilize the one hour session – sampling all three tire compounds – focused on getting to grips with the 4.309-kilometer (2.677 mile) 15-turn circuit. Both Schumacher and Magnussen completed their run plans without issue, finishing FP1 in P8 and P16 respectively.

As rain fell in the interval, Q1 saw both Magnussen and Schumacher leave the garage on Pirelli Cinturato Green Intermediate tires. Magnussen’s fastest lap time on the green rubber (1:18.423) was deleted for track limits at Turn 8 as Schumacher posted a quickest time of 1:18.450. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was the first to brave the Red soft tire and with sectors turning purple, both Magnussen and Schumacher, along with the rest of the grid, opted to follow suit. Magnussen comfortably bettered his lap time to advance to Q2 (1:13.954), whereas Schumacher was unable to capitalize in drying conditions, finishing P20 with a quickest time of 1:16.361.

Q2 proceeded with weather conditions remaining mixed, Magnussen setting his first lap with a time of 1:12.280. Coming back into the garage and bolting a fresh set of Red softs on, the Dane advanced to Q3 finishing the session in 7th, with a fastest lap time of 1:11.410.

For Q3, the sky began to darken again, and Magnussen started the session on a new set of Red soft tires. His first lap time of a 1:11.674 took him to the top of the timings before Mercedes’ George Russell brought out a red flag for beaching his car at Turn 4. The stricken Mercedes removed, the session resumed with eight minutes on the clock but with rain falling no improvement could be made, meaning Kevin Magnussen secured his maiden pole position in Formula 1, fittingly on the weekend of his 100th Grand Prix start for Haas F1 Team.

“It’s incredible,” Magnussen said. “I want to say thank you to Gene Haas, Guenther and the whole team for taking me back on and giving me the opportunity to have a day like this – I’m so chuffed. The team put me out in the pitlane as the first car and that was the gamechanger. It gave me the best piece of track as it started to rain and we got pole. It was the longest minute of my life trying to stay calm as it looked like it was going to be wet but you never know. I’m so happy.”

Next up on Saturday, November 12, is final practice before the 24-lap 100km Sprint race runs 16:30-17:00.