KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) - From Haas F1 Team pit notes provided to WBTV: The Kannapolis based Haas F1 Team earned its second straight point-paying result as Kevin Magnussen drove to a 10th-place finish in the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday at Shanghai International Circuit. Teammate Romain Grosjean finished 17th.
The single point earned by Magnussen strengthened Haas F1 Team's seventh-place standing in the constructors' ranks, as it increased its margin over eighth-place Sauber to nine points while cutting the deficit to sixth-place Toro Rosso to just one point.
Magnussen started 11th in the 56-lap race around the 5.451-kilometer (3.387-mile), 16-turn track. He employed a one-stop strategy, swapping the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires he started the race with for the harder, more durable White medium tire on lap 24. The pit stop dropped Magnussen from a high of seventh to 10th, as the pit window opened early on lap 10 when Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley came in for service, setting off an elongated pit cycle that saw an array of strategies.
A safety car period beginning on lap 32 further complicated matters, as it allowed some drivers to duck into the pits for service and minimize any lost track position. Magnussen and Grosjean stayed out on the track, improving their track position as Magnussen climbed back to seventh and Grosjean broke into the top-10. The downside, however, was the drivers behind the Haas F1 Team duo were on much fresher tires, and when the race returned to green, the discrepancy was apparent.
Nico Hulkenberg wheeled his Renault past Magnussen on lap 35 to take seventh, while Grosjean came under attack from the McLaren of Fernando Alonso and the Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr., to fall out of the top-10.
Grosjean wound up with a two-stop strategy. He pitted on lap 16, jettisoning the Purple ultrasoft tires he used in the final round of qualifying for White mediums. He pitted again on lap 46, having wrought all he could from those mediums, for a slightly used set of ultrasofts that would take him to the finish. Grosjean emerged from the pits in 20th and rallied to finish 17th.
Magnussen held steady in eighth until lap 48 when both Alonso and Sainz got by. Magnussen was able to hold onto 10th and maintain the gap over 11th-place Esteban Ocon, crossing the stripe with a 4.456-second advantage over the Force India driver to finish in the points.
"I just got unlucky with the safety car. Our strategy was paying off to begin with, but then we got the safety car at a bad time," Magnussen said. "We didn't get the advantage out of the strategy that we would've had otherwise. I don't know if we should've pitted. It was a tough choice. I just think the safety car came at a very unlucky time and it meant we couldn't score more than the one point. That's still okay, but we had hoped for a bit more. It's a long season and, hopefully, we'll keep scoring points. I'm proud of how we're performing as a team. We need to keep that up."
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo won the Chinese Grand Prix by 8.894 seconds ahead of Mercedes pilot Valtteri Bottas. The win was the sixth of Ricciardo's Formula One career, his first of the season and his first at Shanghai.
Formula One takes a weekend off before returning to action for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix April 29 at Baku City Circuit where Ricciardo is the defending race winner.