A much improved race pace for Haas in Jeddah pleases Magnussen

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Image credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen scored the first point of the season for Haas in Jeddah. This was after a good tussle with Yuki Tsunoda and eventually pulling off the pass with five laps to go.

However what was much more encouraging for Haas was their race pace in comparison to their showing in Bahrain.

Magnussen, who other than the two troubled McLaren’s was the first to pit on lap 8 to ditch his mediums for the hard compound tyres, made them last all the way to the end.

Tsunoda on the other hand pitted on lap 17 but couldn’t hold off the faster Magnussen at the end of the race.

After the race Magnussen conceded the weekend didn’t start well but with a lot of setup changes his team got the car into a great window for qualifying and was also convinced only for the gearbox issue on Saturday he would have had a better showing.

“We didn’t start the weekend too good but managed to turn it around and find a setup I liked. We made some good changes to the car.

“Unfortunately we had a [gearbox] issue in qualifying and would have loved to start a bit further forward, but I still managed to get a point today.

“I think the pace was there for more but one point is good.”

Haas will take a lot of comfort away from this weekend with this improved tyre management, but it must be noted that the smooth nature of the track in Jeddah is in stark contrast to the abrasive Bahrain track.

“We made a good step this weekend on the setup. Much better on tyre degradation today than in Bahrain. [We’ve] got to be really happy with that.

“I feel like we actually made a step forward. I hope that transpires into Melbourne and the coming races.

“We’re going to go back to races that are harder on the surface tarmac wise – then we’ll see if we made a step forward.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner echoed these comments but also praised his team for their approach to the weekend in Saudi Arabia.

“As I said after Bahrain, I didn’t really know where we were with the car, but we now know where we think we are. We’re in the mix, we’re actually pretty good I think – it’s all coming together. We didn’t panic after Bahrain – now we’re cautiously optimistic.”

With the midfield being so tight, all is to play for as the F1 circus heads to Melbourne.