Magnussen says Haas was ‘phenomenal’ after taking P9 in Jeddah – but admits neck strength was 'nowhere'
Kevin Magnussen scored his second straight points finish for Haas since his shock call-back to the team for 2022 in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – with the Dane praising the team’s VF-22, even if he admitted that his neck was struggling to cope with the car’s downforce.
The start to Magnussen’s Jeddah weekend didn’t augur well, as he finished both Friday practice sessions in P20 having been struck by a series of reliability issues (below). But with team mate Mick Schumacher crashing heavily in qualifying, Magnussen led the charge for Haas, putting his car a strong P10 on the grid.
One of only three drivers to start the Grand Prix on the hard tyres on Sunday evening, Magnussen’s race strategy then looked to take a hit when a Safety Car was called on Lap 16, allowing the majority of the rest of the field to pit. But Magnussen then profited from a Virtual Safety Car later in the race, allowing him to change tyres before racing to P9, and the second consecutive points finish of his F1 return.
“I mean, the worst thing that could happen to us, happened!” joked Magnussen after the race, “because we started on the opposite strategy on the hard tyre and almost everyone else was on medium, and the worst thing that could happen was the Safety Car on Lap 16 or 17 – and it came at 16! So to still get two points is very good.
“The car was phenomenal again, it’s such a joy to drive,” he added. “We did get a little bit of the luck back at the end when we got the VSC, but had that been a Safety Car instead of VSC – I don’t know how fast they were at the front, but then everyone would have been condensed and we had new tyres and we would have scored big points again.
“Anyway, happy. The team has done a fantastic job to bounce back from a difficult situation on Friday, so happy.”
One part of Magnussen that wasn’t happy was his neck. The Dane admitted after qualifying that he’d felt his car had had the pace for P5 on the grid – but that limitations to his neck strength had prevented him qualifying better than P10.
And with a social media image showing Magnussen’s neck heavily strapped up ahead of the race, the Haas driver admitted that he was still struggling with the G-forces of the current F1 cars, saying: “The neck is nowhere – the neck is nowhere. I hope it will come back soon!”
Magnussen’s two points were compensation for the team, after Mick Schumacher was unable to take the start following his Q2 crash – with Schumacher telling the media he’d felt “fit” enough to race, but with Haas needing to conserve parts ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
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