Haas “slightly surprised in a positive way” over F1 Spanish GP weekend as they expected to be “last” — Magnussen

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Haas’ Kevin Magnussen finished the Spanish Grand Prix in a distant 17th, a lap down from winner Max Verstappen.

Magnussen’s race was already compromised at the start after the stewards penalised him for a false start which led to a 5-second time penalty imposed during his second pit stop. On top of that, a slow pit stop hurt the Danish driver’s chances as of beating Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.

Speaking after the race, Magnussen attributed his false start to a driver error and pointed out how sensitive the sensors at the starting grid were.

“I just jumped the start. Classic error. I released the clutch. The wheel just turned a little bit.”

“I stopped again and waited for the lights. It’s very sensitive now.”

Magnussen gave a blunt assessment of the race after receiving the penalty and enduring a slow pit stop, which effectively ended the race for him.

“I think just that penalty and then a slow pit stop on top [of that] put us early into the blue flags, and by that time the race is pretty much over. You’re just letting people by on every lap. So yeah, tough day.

Magnussen admitted that Haas expected to be the slowest team around a track where downforce is king. Nonetheless, a P11 for Nico Hülkenberg and the Dane comfortably beating both Williams cars was a surprise for them.

“We thought it was going to be a tough weekend. Everything was pointing in that direction coming into the weekend.

“Slightly surprised in a positive way that we were able to […] I think we thought we’d be last, and we weren’t. That’s positive at least.

“Let’s see if we can get a clean weekend finally in Austria. that is the goal.

The 31-year-old explained that even on the high downforce package the VF-24 is very rapid on the straight due to a relative lack of downforce from that package compared to the others. He likens the situation as similar to Williams’ cars in recent seasons.

“I think still that our high downforce is very efficient on the straight, so… Although we are not that quick in high-speed corners, we kind of make up for it by being that quick on the straight. We look like the old Williams a little bit in that regard.

“Low drag, even in our highest, almost highest configuration, it’s still very quick on the straight. So that’s a big positive from that, and… We still need to find performance in the high-speed corners itself.

Magnussen was racing the Sauber and Williams cars and deemed it was okay despite sliding more in the high-speed corners compared to his rivals.

“I think today we were a little […] I don’t know, I was racing Sauber and Williams. Compared to them, I think it was okay.

“And AlphaTauri [RB]. Compared to them, I think we had pretty good tyre degradation. So you could argue, we are then better because we were sliding more in the corners, but let’s have a look.