Portuguese Grand Prix – Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were left frustrated after taking a gamble on a race interruption by a Safety Car or some rain.
Neither Haas driver was able to score points in the race at Portimao, which was always going to be a tough ask considering they started from P18 & P19.
Kevin Magnussen, starting from P19, started on the Hard compound with the intent of being able to gain track position in the event of an unusual race circumstance but, despite a chaotic first few laps, a straightforward race meant that he wasn’t able to make much progress by the end of the race.
Magnussen finished in P16, having pitted on Lap 31 to swap to the Medium compound.
“We started on the hard tires to make sure we were the last car to box.” Magnussen explained after the race. “We were going for luck, hoping for rain, a safety car, red flag or virtual safety car – something like that. We needed that in the window where I was running long compared to the others. It was a long shot, but we knew we didn’t have a chance of points with a normal race. We went for it. That said, I still beat some people with the conventional strategies. It was the best we could do I think.”
Romain Grosjean did the opposite, starting on the Mediums, before a swap to the Hards on Lap 26. He had a good battle with Antonio Giovinazzi towards the end of the race, but was beaten to the chequered flag. On top of this, Grosjean was given a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits on multiple occasions during the race. He was given a penalty point for this.
“The first few laps of the race were quite slippery and fun.” said Grosjean after the race. “I managed to work my way through and put in a few overtaking moves. Sadly, the pace just wasn’t there though. We were really struggling on the straights so I couldn’t overtake anyone. We did the best we could and we extracted the maximum from the car – that’s all we can hope for.”
Both Magnussen and Grosjean are going into their final races with the team, having confirmed prior to the weekend that they have lost their seats with Haas for 2021.
After a bad qualifying session, team boss Guenther Steiner said that Sunday’s result wasn’t unexpected in a race that didn’t spring any surprises.
“I think after yesterday’s qualifying this result hasn’t come unexpectedly.” said Steiner. “We just tried to do the best we could. The positive is our cars are in good shape, which they need to be as we’re going back racing next weekend. We have to try to do something to get something out of that one. It’s a new circuit which hopefully has some surprises – positive ones, not negative ones. We look forward to going to Imola.”