Magnussen says P10 finish in F1 Singapore GP “means so much in a tough period” for Haas

Spread the love

Photo credit: Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen had an up-and-down race in Singapore, starting from a strong sixth position. Eventually he ended up in tenth, courtesy of George Russell who clipped the wall on the final lap. Something that is always close by in this hot race, where mental fitness is equally important as physical fitness.

And the Dane wasn’t too sad about the race coming to an end: “Crazy race. It’s always the hardest race of the year. Feels like you’re going to faint any minute.”

The 30-year-old was quickly under pressure by Max Verstappen after a messy start where he lost out to Alonso and Ocon, but once he was passed by the Dutchman he had to try and keep Gasly behind, knowing that staying in clean air would be his only chance at a decent result.

“I couldn’t really [drive to a delta], my delta was Gasly. He was my delta. I knew if he got past, then I’d be in dirty air again. The only reason I could sort of hang on was because I was in free air.

“Max had pulled a gap of 3 or 4 seconds. I was able to just about look after my tyres, but then if Gasly had got past, my tyres would have died.”

A decent result looked off the table once he got passed by Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri, but the Haas driver refused to give up and just kept turning his laps, swapping to the soft tyres once the Virtual Safety Car came out to clear the stricken car of Esteban Ocon. It allowed him to pass teammate Hulkenberg, Zhou and the unfortunate Albon who got hit by Perez. He gained P10 on the last tour thanks to Russell’s crash.

Magnussen said giving up would have made his race dull and boring.

“I did think, it’s a boring race if you just give up,” he said. “It’s a long bloody race if you’re not fighting. So I might as well just go for it.

“And the hard tyre was gone. Once I lost the position to Gasly and the McLaren, I think it was Piastri.

I thought it was game over, the tyres had just died.

“But then the VSC came, got the soft on, and just pushed the hell out of it. And got there at the end.”

The race, which was dominated by tyre management, once again highlighted the main issue of the Haas VF-23: tyre wear. Nonetheless, he used the softs perfectly to make moves and avoided destroying his softs.

“Our issue right now is, especially in dirty air, we destroy our tyres. We just cook them.

“I had that opportunity because I had free air,” Magnussen explains. “Once I didn’t have that, it was tough. But the soft tyre worked well. I was in free air again for a long time.

“When I got to the cars [in front], I overtook them quickly. I didn’t cook them in trying to overtake.”

He was realistic when it came to the final position he won: “I got lucky there with Russell at the end.”

Nevertheless, the point he got was a welcome one, and he rightfully smiled from ear to ear.

“Even though it’s one point, when you’re in a tough period like we are at the moment, it means so much.

“Some years you have a better car and at one point you’re disappointed. But it’s incredible when you’re working your ass off and it works out and you get a point. It’s very important for us.”

So once again the Haas team was great in qualifying, but a bit disappointing in the race. Asked what was needed to improve this, Magnussen answered:

“We need a broader window on the car. It’s very peaky. It’s got good grip when you’re not turning.

But it’s not so useful often.”

He added: “This track is very stop and go. The corners are very sharp, 90 degree corners. You’re not as exposed in combining G’s.

“That’s why we could get away with it and be so good in qualifying and also hang on to it. Suzuka is going to be very different. It’s very long, long flowing corners. Not our favourite.”