Kevin Magnussen felt he had the pace to challenge for the top ten during the Belgian Grand Prix at the beginning of each stint, but the tyre degradation of his MoneyGram Haas F1 Team car put paid to his chances of scoring points.
Magnussen was able to run in and around the top ten during the early laps of each stint at Spa-Francorchamps, with the tyres initially enabling the Dane to show good pace, but the longer the stint went on, the worse it got and he eventually slipped down the order and finished fifteenth.
Looking forward, Magnussen believes the team are working hard to overcome their shortcomings when it comes to excessive tyre wear, and he hopes they can come back fighting after the summer break and fight again to score top ten finishes.
“I felt there was a little more to fight for this race, I had a bit more competitiveness,” said Magnussen. “We still have way more degradation than everyone else, which I think is the main differentiator today.
“Pace-wise at the beginning of the stints it felt like we could fight for the top ten but didn’t have the degradation to keep fighting to the end. I think we’re getting a good understanding of what we need to do and I’m looking forward to the second half of the year, looking forward to some upgrades, and making some changes to the car.
“Hopefully we can get back in the game, we’re still P8 in the Constructors’ Championship and that’s our aim as a team to gain another position from last year. We’ve got everything to play for.”
“We’ll reset, regroup and we have three weeks to refresh” – Nico Hülkenberg
Team-mate Nico Hülkenberg ended a difficult weekend eighteenth having started from the pit lane following overnight changes to his car, and the German agreed with Magnussen that the tyre degradation at Spa hindered performance.
Hülkenberg’s VF-23 had changes made to it outside of parc ferme ahead of the Belgian race, but even with those changes, he did not believe the pace of the car was strong enough to fight for a top ten finish.
“I think tyre degradation was high and also car pace wasn’t good enough to challenge for points,” admitted Hülkenberg. “We’ll reset, regroup and we have three weeks to refresh and hopefully come back stronger in Zandvoort.
“I’m disappointed after a day like today, but I’m first and foremost still very happy to be back, enjoying myself and having a good time in the car.
“Working and pushing the team and having battles on-track, the positives still outweigh a difficult Sunday, but we need and want some performance in the car.”