Kevin Magnussen says his Haas F1 Team are punching above their weight in their battle for the ‘best-of-the-rest’ title with Renault Sport F1 despite being the faster car on the majority of occasions.
Haas are 30 points behind Renault in the constructor’s standings with two races to go but it is the drivers standings where the midfield battle is still fiercely tight.
Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz Jr., Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso are all still in the hunt to be crowned what drivers and fans are calling Formula 1’s ‘B-Championship’.
“The midfield fight is still intense, although the gap to Renault has increased,” said Magnussen.
“It’s the ‘best-of-the-rest’, so there’s a lot of pride in it.
“We’re still really keen to try and catch up, and we’ll do everything we can to maximise our chances against them.
“Behind us in the championship we’ve got some breathing room. We know that things can turn around quickly. We want to score as many points as we can.”
“We shouldn’t really be fighting Renault in Formula One, because they have a lot more resources, a big factory and a lot more people involved. With what we’ve got, we use it a lot better than they do. That’s already something to be proud of.
“On average, we’ve been quicker than them this year so, of course, it’s disappointing to be behind them in the championship at this point. We just have to build from here.”
Haas’ 2018 progress was apparent from the opening race of the season in Melbourne where mistakes in the pit lane cost both Magnussen and his teammate Romain Grosjean from challenging for a podium.
“We’ve taken a step forward this year and we’ve proved that we can build a car that’s capable of best-of-the-rest.
“We just have to minimise the mistakes, score points and get the results we deserve to have more points regularly.”
In their short history Haas have never scored a point at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Grosjean coming closest last season when he finished in 15th place, two laps behind race winner Sebastian Vettel.
However this season Haas’ more nimble chassis combined with the step forward made by engine supplier Ferrari, Intelagos could prove to be an ideal venue to score big points.
“It’s a great track,” said Magnussen, who finished ninth in Brazil for McLaren in 2014.
“It’s one of the old-school circuits with a good flow to it. It has banking, it goes up and down – it’s not just a track full of tarmac runoffs. It’s a fun track to drive. I’m looking forward to racing there.
“You can overtake there, but it’s not easy. You really need to get qualifying right. I think we have as good a chance there as we do any other race.”