Unreliability and “minor things” see Magnussen and Hülkenberg eliminated in Q1 at Baku

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Kevin Magnussen had a nightmare Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He will start 18th for Sunday’s race.

The Dane was beset by problems throughout the day. In FP1, he stopped at turn 1 because of a fuel pressure problem. Then in qualifying, he couldn’t complete his final attempt as his race engineer Mark Slade told him to back off due to an unspecified problem.

“I’m not entirely sure but I had some sort of power unit issue but it could be electrical as well,” said Magnussen afterwards. “It just felt to me like some kind of misfiring so it could be I think electrical problem, which sort I don’t really know.

“On that lap that I finished, my best lap in Q1, it was already misfiring. So it cost me a lot.

“It’s a bit of a bummer, but on the bright side, this qualifying is for the main race, which is a big opportunity to move forward. If it had to happen in one, I would prefer it to be this one.

“Tomorrow is the qualifying for sprint race and see what we can do there.”

Magnussen was comprehensively beaten by Hülkenberg in qualifying last time out in Australia, finishing 0.7s off his German stablemate in Q2.

Despite completing very few laps today, the Danish driver was feeling happy with the balance and how the car was handling.

“I had a good feeling. I think it showed in my lap that it was going well even though I only had maybe two laps pushing in practice,” he stated. “I felt immediately good with the car and confident so hopefully tomorrow we can swing it around.

“I actually felt like the balance was nice and pace looked good. It’s a bummer when these things happen but there’s no reason to cry about it. Just move on.”

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

On the other side of the garage, Nico Hülkenberg also got bumped out in Q1. The German missed out by 0.130s from making it through. He says small things prevented him from reaching it.

“Obviously a bit difficult to get a rhythm with the red flags and you know with the long waiting times in between, but that’s not an excuse,” he said. “I think the laps were not as clean as they could have been.

“I think Q2 was definitely realistic and possible, but yeah, small things prevented that.”

Asked to explain what happened, the German said a lock-up and then getting caught out by a gust of wind ended his day early.

“Ah, just some minor things, a bit of a front lock in one corner,” he said. “The other corner, I think I caught a big tailwind or a crosswind and just losing out. It was actually just on each lap one corner that made all the difference.

“A little bit disappointed with that, but we’ll attack again tomorrow.”

Hülkenberg believes the midfield is as close as ever, but this time around he ended up on the wrong side of things and starts 17th on Sunday.

“I think again, very tight in the midfield, you know, and a small difference, a small lap time makes a huge difference in terms of position, so it’s all very bunched up again,” he said.

“I feel that we’re there amongst them all in the midfield, so to be on the back foot or on the back end of that now today is obviously not great.”

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team