French Grand Prix – Haas claimed another points finish at Paul Ricard, with Kevin Magnussen coming home in P6 and holding off a Mercedes in the process.
Magnussen avoided the melee at the start of the race when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel & Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas collided. Starting from P9, the Haas driver used the escape area on the outside to avoid a collision and emerged in P3, although immediately backed off to fall back down to P5 alongside Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, which is where he had been prior to cutting the track.
While he was powerless to prevent Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen overtaking him on the restart, as well as the recovering Sebastian Vettel passing him before the pitstops, Magnussen came into his own later in the race. Having been passed by other drivers through the stops, he sliced past Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne to run P8 in the closing stages. However, a power problem put Carlos Sainz within range as the Renault slowed on the straights, with Magnussen able to pick off the hapless Spaniard with four laps to go. Valtteri Bottas, who had had a slow pitstop to change for the UltraSofts, was behind the Haas and, despite throwing everything at Magnussen, the Danish driver held on to come home in P6 and best of the rest behind Hamilton, the two Ferraris and two Red Bulls.
“It was a good race and we had a good car. We got everything right. It was a good race for us, and very happy to come back from the disappointment of yesterday. We knew we were still standing in a position of where we could probably do something good in the race, and it was our day today. I was struggling quite a bit on the ultrasofts there in the first stint, just overheating and sliding around on the rears.”
“For some reason, the front tires were working really well and the rear tires were struggling. Still, the degradation for us was quite low even though the balance was off. When we put the softs on, I kind of started out looking after them a little bit, which then when I got under pressure from Bottas, I really started pushing, and then the tires came alive even more and I found four-tenths, half a second more. It was just what I needed.” Kevin Magnussen, Haas
Thanks to Magnussen’s points finish, Haas claim P7 in the Constructor’s Championship. All of their 27 points on the table have been scored by Magnussen, with Romain Grosjean not managing to finish in the points again in France.
Haas are one point behind Force India, and eight points clear of Toro Rosso.
Team boss Guenther Steiner said: “To finish sixth, we’re very happy about it. We were a little bit lucky that Carlos (Sainz) had an issue there at the end, and a little bit unlucky with Romain because he got a penalty. Now, I hope we can keep this going as we finally have the car where it should be.”
Amazing race today!! 💪🏼 8 more points in the bank 👌🏼 pic.twitter.com/BUS0NS4gVD
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) June 24, 2018