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‘It’s very encouraging’ – Hulkenberg and Magnussen hail ‘teamwork’ as Haas score double points finish in Australia

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari

The Australian Grand Prix proved to be a positive day for Haas, with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen bringing home a double points result for the team after crossing the line in P9 and P10 respectively.

Qualifying had not been straightforward for the American outfit on Saturday. Hulkenberg just missed out on Q2 by ending the session in 16th, while Magnussen narrowly avoided a double Q1 exit for the team by going through thanks to a lap being deleted for Daniel Ricciardo, meaning that the Dane ultimately lined up in P14.

READ MORE: Sainz storms to victory amid drama in Australia as Verstappen retires and Russell crashes out

Both drivers made gains come race day and ended the event in the points, with Hulkenberg admitting afterwards that he had benefitted from two well-timed pit stops including a first made during the Virtual Safety Car period, when Lewis Hamilton pulled off track with a mechanical issue.

“Obviously the first VSC helped me, so it was a cheap stop, but then two times [the pit stop] was quite practical,” the German explained. “After both my stops I came out and it’s quite awkward for the car that’s on track when a car comes out of the pit lane, because we sort of park it and the closing speed is very big.

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Hulkenberg explains the key to his points finish in Australia

“The first time I kind of overtook Daniel [Ricciardo] that way and the second time I took Alex [Albon] that way, and I’m sure they were both pretty unhappy about that! But that kind of made our race today, and together with the VSC and everything and the teamwork, so [I’m] very happy.”

Asked if he had now seen enough to believe that the Haas VF-24 car is capable of fighting for points when the circumstances allow, Hulkenberg responded: “Obviously ninth and 10th with one top car [George Russell] crashing out and obviously Max [Verstappen] also out, it’s still the case that, if the upper five teams finish, there’s not much left.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from a dramatic Australian Grand Prix as Sainz wins while Verstappen retires

“I’m more encouraged that the car felt actually better today in the race than it did over one lap in quali yesterday, so that was obviously very, very different last year, and I think it’s quite practical and handy to have it this way around. But still early days, we need to see a few more tracks.”

Magnussen, meanwhile, had worked his way up to P11 following an overtake on Albon and found himself in the points following Russell’s late-race crash out of P7.

On whether Melbourne marked some of his most hard-fought points, Magnussen commented: “I don’t know, but it’s good. We got both cars in the points, good teamwork once again.

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Magnussen revelling in ‘fantastic day’ for Haas after double points finish in Melbourne

“Obviously it didn’t help me with the Virtual Safety Car, the first one, but on the flip side it helped Nico so we could get him back in the battle. A fantastic day for us to get three points here, [especially] after qualifying, [where things were] decent but not great. Just super happy with today.”

With Magnussen having been able to battle with the Williams of Albon during the race, the Dane acknowledged that the car’s performance so far has been positive for the whole team.

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“It’s very encouraging. It’s a whole different way to go racing,” he added. “It was tough last year, knowing every race on Sunday morning you wake up and you know it’s not going to be good.

“Today I woke up and I knew I’d have a chance to fight and it was true. Once again we were stronger in race pace than quali pace, and we need to just keep working in this direction.”

Haas are currently P7 in the constructors’ championship, ahead of Williams, Kick Sauber and Alpine who are all yet to score a point.

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2024 Australian Grand Prix: Magnussen comes out on top after running battle with Albon

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