Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team finishes Azerbaijan GP, looks ahead to Miami

The Baku street circuit offers many picturesque scenes.
The Baku street circuit offers many picturesque scenes.(Haas F1 Team)
Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 9:13 AM EDT
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - The team referred to it as a “solid effort,” as the Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team earned position 13 with Kevin Magnussen and position 17 with Nico Hulkenberg in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.

“A solid effort from both Kev and Nico but not quite the pace to trouble the top 10 today,” team posted on Twitter.

Sergio Perez bested his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen by taking the win. Verstappen finished in p2, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc finished in p3.

“Kevin got his front wing endplate knocked off at the start because Bottas in front of him locked-up, so he couldn’t avoid him, and it was severe enough to make a front wing change. With Nico, we tried a different strategy and it didn’t work because the Safety Car came too early. All in all, the performance of the car was good and we could hold pace with the Alpine and McLaren. I think we just have to take this one as a little dip and come back in Miami, where maybe for our car it’s even better, being a medium-downforce circuit,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner.

Magnussen started from 16th position on Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires and gained position through a hectic opening few corners, despite contact with the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas. Magnussen held 13th place and pitted on lap 11 when a Safety Car was called to retrieve the stranded AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries. Magnussen took on White hard tires and a new front wing and spent the rest of the race battling in a closely-contested midfield, classifying 13th.

“We were stuck in traffic the whole race, we had pace for much more but just couldn’t pass,” Magnussen said. “Unfortunately, with the wing we have it’s really fast with no DRS but with DRS it doesn’t really have a big impact. Overtaking is very difficult, defending is pretty good because without DRS we’re pretty fast. That little detail made the difference today because I think looking at the cars ahead I was way quicker than them but just couldn’t get past. A bit of the same story as last year as we were in the points until the end but this year, we had even more pace. Hopefully that carries onto Miami, and we will try again.”

Hulkenberg started the race from pit lane on hard tires after set-up changes were made to his VF-23 after the Sprint race on Saturday. Hulkenberg stayed out behind the Safety Car and ran inside the top 10 after opponents in the mid-pack made their compulsory tire stops. Hulkenberg extended his stint, in case of another incident causing a safety car period or red flag, but eventually came in on the penultimate lap for his mandatory service, taking on Red soft tires through to the end.

“It was hard work – I was head-down, focused,” Hulkenberg said. “It was a quali race to be honest for me, that was all I had but it was okay for 40 laps or so and then at the end, unfortunately the tires started to drop quite rapidly. The Safety Car didn’t come out and that’s what we needed with the strategy we pursued. Nevertheless, it was good learning. We elected for a pit lane start and changed the set-up completely to something more conventional. We learned something, on the positive side, and now onto Miami where I think we’ll be more competitive.”

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team maintains seventh position in the Constructors’ Championship.

Round 5 of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship is the Miami Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome. Practice – Friday May 5. Qualifying – Saturday May 6. Race – Sunday May 7.