Kevin Magnussen admitted he was on the limit during Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday, and it forced a mistake from him exiting the second Lesmo that saw him run through the gravel trap.
The Dane at least made it through to Q2, something of a rarity for the Haas F1 Team in 2020, but he will start fifteenth on the grid for Sunday’s race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Magnussen does not believe Haas will have the kind of pace needed to challenge for points on Sunday, but he is hoping for an ‘out of the ordinary’ afternoon to give him a chance of a top ten result.
“I made a mistake and went off – I was on the limit,” said Magnussen. “I knew that if I got a perfect lap in we could probably beat Raikkonen, so I tried to go for it.
“You have to give it a go, but it didn’t work. We were either going to be fifteenth, or potentially fourteenth, we had nothing really to lose. It was good to get through to Q2 at least. P15 is one of the better qualifying results we’ve had this year, so we’ll take that.
“I’m hoping that we can do something tomorrow in the race, but I don’t think we really have the pace. It’ll have to be something out of the ordinary – so fingers crossed for that.”
“It’s disappointing as I was convinced I could get to Q2” – Romain Grosjean
Team-mate Romain Grosjean was frustrated not to follow his team-mate into Q2, with the Frenchman banging his steering wheel in frustration on the way into the pit lane after a mistake at Parabolica ended his chances of advancing. He will start sixteenth on Sunday.
Grosjean bemoaned a ride-height change in-between final practice and Qualifying that did not work the way they had hoped, but he hopes this change will benefit him in race conditions on Sunday as he aims for his first top ten finish of the season.
“I’m disappointed as we’d made a change on the rear ride-height between final practice and qualifying – it didn’t work,” said Grosjean. “I knew I could go through to Q2 today, but the change just made the car not great.
“Sadly, we’re out. As I said, it’s disappointing as I was convinced I could get to Q2 but instead I’m out in Q1. The race is usually a different story. Let’s see how it goes, hopefully the rear suspension will evolve and we’ll pick up some rear ride-height – that will help.”
“At the moment, getting into Q2, it’s a good thing for us” – Guenther Steiner
Guenther Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, said getting into Q2 at Monza was a good effort, and the performance of the VF-20 continues to improve as the season goes on.
Haas have only scored one point in the opening seven races and have been struggling to get out of Q1 in Qualifying, so to get one car through was a positive result, even if fifteenth and sixteenth on the grid is not a great place to start.
“At the moment, getting into Q2, it’s a good thing for us – we’re happy about that,” said Steiner. “Overall, the performance is still not where we want to be, but at least we’re going in the right direction.
“Both drivers did a good job, it’s just so tight to get out of Q1. So, we come away fifteenth and sixteenth on the grid. Kevin (Magnussen) tried to do the impossible when he got into Q2, which was to try and gain a few more spots.
“It didn’t work out, but he did the right thing, he tried hard – he could have been fourteenth on a good day. Hopefully tomorrow we can hold the pace of the other cars, put a good race in, and try and enjoy ourselves doing what we’re doing.”