‘We had the pace for more’ bemoans Magnussen after tough weekend in Baku for Haas
Kevin Magnussen endured a difficult weekend in Baku with mechanical woes disrupting his Friday running and leaving him out of position on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Despite that, he made an electric getaway off the line, only to suffer damage on the opening lap of the race.
The Dane was making good progress at the start but hit the back of Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa, the Finn having locked up in a bid to avoid contact himself. That damaged Magnussen’s end-plate, leading to a lengthy pit stop to replace the front wing, just before the Safety Car came out in another moment of bad luck.
“We were stuck in traffic the whole race, we had pace for much more but just couldn’t pass,” Magnussen said. “Unfortunately, with the [rear] 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.”
Magnussen’s team mate Nico Hulkenberg also started out of position as set up changes meant he was forced into a pit lane start. The German attempted a long opening stint on the hard compound tyre in the hopes of gaining a free pit stop under a late Safety Car, but there was no incident forthcoming in the closing stages and, as a result, he came home a distant 17th.
“It was hard work – I was head-down, focused," he 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 tyres 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."
Haas remain seventh in the constructors’ standings, one point clear of eighth-placed Alfa Romeo.