Kevin Magnussen: “Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was great for us”

by Paul Hensby
Kevin Magnussen - Haas F1 Team - Circuit of the Americas

Kevin Magnussen is looking for a more competitive Mexican Grand Prix weekend in 2018 than he had twelve months ago, although the Dane did manage to bring home four points in 2017 thanks to an eighth-place finish.

The Haas F1 Team racer had been off the pace ahead of race day and had qualified down in eighteenth, but a combination of other drivers’ making errors and a strong performance from Magnussen, he held off World Champion Lewis Hamilton to take eighth.

“Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was great for us,” said Magnussen.  “We didn’t qualify very well, but we made our way back in the race to eighth. We were able to capitalize on other people’s mistakes.

“It got us into a great position, and then I fought that position hard until the end of the race to bring home some good points on a weekend that didn’t look like we were going to score points.”

Magnussen says the fans are what make the Mexican Grand Prix weekend special, with the atmosphere crazy before and after the event, although when behind the wheel it is easy for him to switch off and concentrate on the job in hand.

“You don’t really pay attention as the race is going on and you’re competing,” admitted the Dane.  “You sense it on the driver parade and after the race. You also get the atmosphere every time you arrive and leave the circuit.

“You see all the fans going crazy. That’s what makes the Mexican Grand Prix special – it’s the fans more than anything.”

Magnussen admits there is a need for a lot of downforce at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez due to the thin air caused by the high altitude, but on the flip side the circuit will see a boost in straight-line speed as the drag is significantly reduced.

“You need a lot of downforce there,” said Magnussen.  “As the air is thin, you lose downforce. It’s pretty tricky. You can see the effect it has on top speeds.

“Because the air is so thin, you don’t have a lot of drag from the air down the straight. Our maximum speeds go very high.”

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