Formula 1

Haas Score First Points of Season After Pit Stop Gamble Pays Dividends for Magnussen

3 Mins read
Credit: Haas F1 Team / LAT Images

The Haas F1 Team took their first points of the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Kevin Magnussen took tenth position last Sunday.

Haas made there way up the grid, with a tactical move to pit on the formation lap for slick tyres, as the team believed the track was dry enough to run the dry weather compound. After the early pitstop, the pair of Romain Grosjean and Magnussen ran in the top half of the grid. Magnussen was able to stabilise himself within the points and took the chequered flag in ninth, with Grosjean crossing the line down in fifteenth.

But the team were handed a penalty for their tactical move at the start of the race, and both drivers took a five second penalty. Which demoted Magnussen to tenth still claiming the first points of the season and Grosjean into sixteenth.

Magnussen spoke on how he had performed in his race, with the Dane praising the team for their chosen strategy, as Magnussen was set to start on the full wet Pirelli tyre compound. He explained that it was a tricky track to handle as the track was just on the limit of slick tyres, so he thanked the team for the choice as it took him into third place in the race.

I’m so happy. The team made an amazing call before the beginning of the race – on the formation lap, to call for the slicks. It was really strong for them to give me that trust, to put me out on dry tyres and in conditions that weren’t easy.

It was pretty risky, but it worked out. The pace was there and having started from the pit lane, after a few laps I was in P3. I knew that wouldn’t be our final placing, but it was amazing to be up there in the race.

The Dane followed by talking through his race as whole and expressed the battle which he had to have to stay in the points during the race, as Haas have struggled for pace during the season to date. Magnussen pointed out the battles which he had to take part included the Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren F1 Team drivers.

He thanked the team yet again but suggested that the team need to make improvements in qualifying as the team have struggled to produce good qualifying results all season.

I just tried to hang on to it as much as I could. I kept working with the team regarding where realistically we were going to be. In the end it was P9 – I held on to it and we had opened the gap to a Ferrari and then kept the McLaren away as well. It shows what a good car we had in the race.

It’s proved that the team has done an amazing job even though we’ve been struggling a little bit in qualifying.

Contact with Albon Ruins Grosjean’s Chances of Points

Grosjean reflected on his race, as he touched on the start of the race as the rain had hit the circuit and left the track damp, so most teams started on intermediate tyres. However, Grosjean and Haas pitted on the formation lap, as mentioned and Grosjean spoke on what he thought of the move from the team to pit them.

He moved on to speak on how the race went for the team, explaining that the tyres were hard to manage as the Hungaroring is a high degradation circuit. He did reveal that he suffered front wing damage, caused after contact with Alexander Albon, which meant he was not able to keep in the points positions.

“It was a good move from the team. I had radioed and said it was too dry for the inters, so we took the gamble. The first few laps were a bit hairy but after that things worked really well.

“The pace was good. I started to have graining on the front left tire, we hadn’t protected it enough. Anyway, it was going okay, then sadly – and I need to review it, Albon had quite a late move on me at turn one, he hit my front wing and damaged it. I had much less performance in the car after that.

“We tried but things went out of sync after that, we just couldn’t stay in the points.”

Guenther Steiner: “We’re not in a position to do this under normal circumstances”

Guenther Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, says it was a great result for the team to break into the points for the first time in 2020, but he errs on the side of caution as in normal conditions they are distinctly off the pace.

“It was a great result for the team today finishing ninth and bringing some points home,” said Steiner. “It’s fantastic, as at the moment we’re not in a position to do this under normal circumstances.

The call at the beginning of the race was the decision which made this happen, the guys then just kept it up. Kevin (Magnussen) did a fantastic job in the race, Romain (Grosjean) just had a few issues with the tires.

Thanks to the whole team for putting in the hard work and keeping on pushing – they never gave up; we never give up.”

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