Disappointment for Schumacher as quest for points continues, as Hamilton contact costs Magnussen in Spain
Haas had their hopes of returning to scoring ways dashed in Barcelona, leaving the race with no points to their name despite both drivers starting the race in the top 10. Kevin Magnussen’s afternoon unravelled after just a few corners as he made contact with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, while Mick Schumacher couldn’t make his strategy work in a congested midfield.
The German had equalled his best ever starting grid position of P10 on Saturday and had a great getaway. He was running sixth by the end of the first lap and seemingly well set to capitalise on the misfortune of others, including his team mate. But after a few laps, he began to lack pace and soon found himself dropping back through the field.
“We had a good start, a good first lap and that’s all you want from today. Maybe the pace just wasn’t there today but hopefully it will be next week,” Schumacher said. “We knew it was going to be tight with that two-stop but unfortunately it didn’t quite pay off to stay out.”
Schumacher wasn’t the only driver to try what proved to be the slower two-stop strategy, with Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas also going for what had been the race-winning strategy for the previous two seasons. But with such high track temperatures, tyre wear was always going to be an issue, and in the end three stops proved the quickest way to get to the flag.
As for Magnussen, he too made a great start, and on the soft tyres found himself with far more grip than the medium-shod Mercedes of Hamilton as they approached Turn 4. Trying to overtake around the outside, the Dane banged wheels with his rival in an incident that sent him off and through the gravel.
“I was on the outside and got hit in Turn 4, had a puncture straight away and that was basically the end of the race,” he said afterwards, clearly disappointed with the result. After nursing his car back to the pits, Magnussen found himself running last, and couldn’t recover back through the field. “I think we were on a tough strategy because of the first lap incident, but when the tyres were sort of new, the car was good.”
The positives for Haas are that their one-lap pace was eye-catching, especially considering that they were the only team not to bring any upgrades to Spain. But having only scored three points in the last four races, they will be hoping for a return to their early season form when racing resumes next weekend in Monaco.