Magnussen hopes RB F1 shows inconsistency as “slow pit stop” costs him a chance at P10 in F1 Japanese GP

Kevin Magnussen drivin his Haas at Suzuka
Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Kevin Magnussen was pleased with Haas’ tyre management after the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Danish driver finished 13th at Suzuka, reaping the benefits of a car that’s easier on its tyres than last year.

He said: “It was a very different race to last year. I didn’t do a big part of last year’s race. But still the tyre performance was very different.

“Last year, no [the strategy would have been impossible]. Not at all.”

The Haas driver suffered a slow pit stop during the race, which cost him valuable time and a potential opportunity to battle for 10th place and the final point.

Magnussen was pleased with his car’s raw speed but lamented the lacklustre pit stop that saw him drop behind Tsunoda and Stroll, ruining his chance of finishing P10 when he was in a prime position to do so before then.

“We had good performance in the car again. 

“It was unfortunate for me with the red flag because effectively, I did a one-stop, an actual one-stop, medium to hard. And the people that did a one-stop, they did a hard, hard, effectively, because they could change the tyres in the red flag. 

“Those that did, they got a free stop. So, not helped by that. But still finished P13.

“It was a slow pit stop, unfortunately. Not the guy’s fault, but a slow one again.

RB F1 has had the pace on its rivals over the last two events — P7 and P10 finishes thanks to Yuki Tsunoda has given them a 3-point advantage over Haas in the early fight for P6 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Magnussen hopes their performance drops a little bit in the coming races to get Haas back in the game.

“The RB is quicker. They’re quicker than us at the moment. At least on the few tracks we’ve just been to, Melbourne and here. Hopefully they will be a little bit more up and down in the coming races, but we can only hope.”

The first sector in Japan is tough on tyres, with multiple changes of direction in the esses causing the tyres to wear out.

Magnussen said the opening part of the lap requires management during the race and that helped reduce the deficit they faced to other teams in Sector 1, with Haas thriving on the straights and in slower turns, such as the last chicane.

The Dane valiantly held off Valtteri Bottas throughout the race.

“It’s a little bit different [in the race] because I think people are managing there. I didn’t see any big disadvantage, but clearly, we’re quick on the straights and quick in low speed.

“So [it’s] difficult to overtake us as Bottas will tell you.”