“Two points better than nothing” – Haas’ Guenther Steiner

by Tom Cairns
Kevin Magnussen - Haas F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom - Race

Haas F1 Team‘s time at the Sochi Autodrom for the Russian Grand Prix had been mixed.

Qualifying was Romain Grosjean‘s best since Hungary by putting his VF-19 in ninth position before moving up one spot thanks Max Verstappen‘s grid penalty.

The Frenchman’s race was very brief though, as a collision involving him, Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi sent the Haas driver into the barrier at Turn Five and exiting the Grand Prix.

The stewards decided not to take action against any driver from the incident but Grosjean had his verdict from the weekend.

“There’s not much to say, the footage is pretty clear,” Grosjean said. “We’ve been working very hard all weekend, and we had a competitive car – we were going to go for points today.

“There was a huge amount of pressure on us to get into Q3 in qualifying yesterday, we don’t know how often we’ll get those chances. Obviously, our race was then ruined by turn four. I had no chance to react.

“It’s a bit of a disappointing afternoon. It’s hard to digest as I felt this was the weekend we could score. To be taken out on the first lap is very hard.”

That non-finish was Grosjean’s seventh of the season, the most of any driver on the Formula 1 grid. The Frenchman has also failed to finish in the points nine times in the last ten races.

Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen - Haas F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom - Drivers Parade
Credit: Haas F1 Team

For his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, the Dane had kept his car clean throughout the event but not without a route through the escape road at the first braking zone of Turn Two.

The twenty-six year old took the wrong way through the bollards, hence a five-second penalty dropped him from eighth to ninth at the finish.

“I think it’s been a positive weekend in terms of our pace,” Magnussen added. “In qualifying yesterday, it looked very good.

“I made a mistake unfortunately in Q2 and didn’t go through to Q3, the car had been perfect. Today we had good pace again. I made a good start, gained a few positions, had a good first stint followed by a decent second stint, then I lost a few spots at the end and got a stupid penalty.

“That’s how it is I guess. I had lost the position to Perez, lost a load of time, I had dirt on my tires, I’d already lost enough time. Then I get the penalty. I think though, I can speak for the whole team to say it’s been a great relief this weekend to be in contention from the beginning. It’s been a great job from the whole team to keep their heads up.”

Team Principal Guenther Steiner finds his team scoring points for the first time since the German Grand Prix in what has been proving to be a turbulent year for the American outfit.

“Unfortunately, Romain (Grosjean) was caught up in a crash on the first lap which ended his day, but obviously no penalties were given there, it’s all good,” Steiner shared.

“Kevin (Magnussen), at the end lost a position, then he was given a five second penalty – which I think was completely inappropriate. Anyway, we got two points for ninth place, that’s better than nothing. Kevin fought very strongly at the end and the whole team worked hard for these points.”

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