Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team finds a point in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Red Bull earns 1-2 finish
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - In a tough battle that went on for several laps, Kannapolis-based Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen managed to collect a points finish in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix on Sunday night at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, finishing p10.
“A point means a lot,” Magnussen said. “We didn’t start the weekend on the right foot but it seemed like we really turned things around and found a groove for qualifying. Unfortunately, we had this issue with the gearbox that we didn’t have today, which was really nice. We were able to have a good race, get a good start, manage the tires well – especially on the hard compound when I was on older tires than Tsunoda and actually had less degradation. I was then able to get past him at the end, and we managed to get a point.”
Haas F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg managed a p12.
“It was eventful,” Hulkenberg said. “It’s always a massive challenge here on this track and it was tight. On one hand I’m disappointed I missed out on a point, but on the other hand I’m very pleased that I completed the race and we’ve learned a lot. The underlying positive news is that we’re competitive. It was difficult to judge in Bahrain with damage, but here today we’re definitely competitive in the midfield and that makes me happy.”
The Red Bull team earned a 1-2 finish with Sergio Perez getting the win over his teammate Max Verstappen. Verstappen charged from a p15 start to manage a p2 finish.
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso earned the 100th podium of his career with a third place finish.
Hulkenberg and Magnussen both started the night race on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires and held competitive positions in the congested midfield group during the opening stages. Magnussen came in on lap 8, taking on White hard tires, with Hulkenberg following suit three laps later and switching to the same compound.
The pair cycled through to 11th and 12th respectively, Magnussen in front of Hulkenberg, after the pit stop phase, with those yet to stop doing so under a safety car period caused when Lance Stroll came to a halt on lap 17.
Magnussen and Hulkenberg ran in tandem at the restart before setting off in pursuit of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Magnussen made several attempts at usurping his opponent before finally wrestling the position away on lap 46 to move into the top 10.
Magnussen preserved the position across the remaining moments of the 50-lap race to secure his and MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s first point score of 2023.
“First point this season,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner. “We had the speed but didn’t luck into it as some people were in a better position after the safety car, but the drivers fought hard, and we got a point. The whole team performed flawlessly all weekend, they kept their heads up and everyone just kept on pushing. That’s what we’re going to be doing all season long and I’m really looking forward to going to Australia now. As I said after Bahrain, I didn’t really know where we were with the car, but we now know where we think we are. We’re in the mix, we’re actually pretty good I think – it’s all coming together. We didn’t panic after Bahrain – now we’re cautiously optimistic.”
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