Kannapolis-based Haas Formula One team wins points in season opener

Kevin Magnussen earns sixth place finish

Kannapolis-based Haas Formula One team wins points in season opener
Kevin Magnussen earned a strong sixth place finish in Australia on Sunday. (Haas F1 Team)

KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) - On the plus side, the Kannapolis-based Haas Formula One race team secured a top-10 finish in the season opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Rich Energy Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen delivered a strong points-paying performance Sunday by finishing a best-of-the-rest sixth in the 58-lap race around the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn track.

“I’m very happy about today, it was a good result," Magnussen said. "I’m obviously sad for team not to have both cars get to the finish. Surely Romain (Grosjean) would have been in a good position as well, especially after we both had such good qualifying yesterday, so I’m gutted for his side that they didn’t get anything out of today. P6 for me is very good, I’m happy with the day. I made a good start and had a really good car from there. I was able to push the whole race and look after my tires. I’m really happy to start the year like this.”

On the not so positive side, teammate Romain Grosjean was unable to join Magnussen in the points, as a loose left-front wheel ended his race after 29 laps.

The trio of perennial series leaders – five-time and reigning champion Mercedes, 16-time champion Scuderia Ferrari and four-time champion Red Bull – comprised the top-five, making sixth the best result possible.

Grosjean made his pit stop on lap 15, but it proved to be a long one as there was a delay in getting the left-front tire attached. This dropped Grosjean to 14th and served as a precursor to his retirement.

“I don’t know what happened exactly yet," Grosjean said. "It just felt wrong. It’s not been a good day. Before all that I was happy and up behind Kevin (Magnussen). The new rules are great for following another car, but the tires are still what they were last year, as you push, you slide, then you lose grip. Even though we can follow easier than in the past, overtaking is still complicated. Overall, today’s a shame as we’ve looked strong all weekend long, we were strong in the race as well.”

The resulting eight points from Magnussen’s effort placed Rich Energy Haas F1 Team fourth in the constructors’ standings, two points ahead of fifth-place Renault and seven points behind third-place Red Bull.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix by 20.886 seconds over polesitter and teammate Lewis Hamilton. The win was the fourth of Bottas’ Formula One career, his first since the 2017 season finale in Abu Dhabi and his first at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.

Haas F1 Team pit notes contributed to this story

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