A crazy couple of weeks got just a little crazier, as Kevin Magnussen gives Haas its best result since Austria 2018.
Brought back to the American squad following its split with Uralkali and the Mazepins, Kevin Magnussen, who had been dropped at the end of 2020, served notice that there could be some surprises in store when he posted the fastest time on the second day of the pre-season test. Next day, teammate Mick Schumacher was second quickest, as if to prove it was no fluke.
Qualifying seventh for the season opener, Magnussen drove a steady, mature race to bring the Haas home in fifth, thereby giving the American team its best result since 2018, when he and teammate Romain Grosjean finished fourth and fifth in Austria.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” said the Dane, who appeared to be grinning from ear to ear for much of the weekend, “it’s so good to be back in this position.
“The craziness just continues!” he laughed. “I’m so thankful again… I keep saying this all weekend, that I just can’t believe this opportunity that I’ve got here and got P5 today… crazy!
“A massive well done to the team for getting this car into this position,” he continued. “We were the strongest car in the midfield, I could actually see the Mercedes for almost the whole race.
“We had a really good race, the car was good all the way through,” he added, “we had a little more degradation than we had hoped for on the first set of tyres.
“I also got past a few people that were faster than me, so I didn’t really know whether to try and keep them behind or to kind of let them go, and I also locked up a little bit,” he admitted.
“That first stint maybe wasn’t perfect, but from there, even though we pitted earlier than planned, we kind of extended that second stint on the same tyre, extended it to get back on plan, then had a Safety Car at the end that put us and everyone on the same tyre and just a sprint race to the end, which was intense.
“Obviously, a bit of luck there at the end with the two Red Bulls,” he admitted, “but we will take that. I can’t wait for the rest of the year, I just want to keep going.”
“If you think about the last two years and then coming back like this, you cannot write a story like this in my opinion,” added team boss, Guenther Steiner. “But the guys on the racetrack, for the last two years they had tough times but they kept their heads down, learned, and the pit stops today were good, and everything was just fine.
“They took the last year to get ready for a better car and the guys delivered a good car this year. It’s all down to the team. They can all be very proud. I am very proud of them.
“It’s just fantastic, I can’t say more but it’s all down to the team. Kevin did a fantastic job, for him a comeback like this he would not have dreamed of, but things happen in life, a month ago it was a completely different scenario and now all of a sudden, we are fifth.”
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