‘One of our better weekends’ says Hulkenberg despite Haas failing to score in Las Vegas
With Kevin Magnussen starting in the top 10 and Nico Hulkenberg in 13th, Haas were hopeful of scoring some much needed points from their third home race of the season in Las Vegas. But it wasn’t to be, with the Dane dropping backwards to finish P13 while Hulkenberg was forced to retire late on.
The German actually had the better start of the duo, making up a handful of places before being forced wide by the multi-car pile up into Turn 1. From there, he set about managing his tyres in the hopes there might be enough drama to move him forward – but instead, he experienced some late issues that saw him pull off down a run-off area and park the car.
“Something with the power unit, something just went, lost power and that was that,” he said afterwards, following just his second DNF of the season.
“It was not too bad [a race] actually. We had to cut through traffic. I had a good start but with the accident, had to go wide into Turn 1 around the outside, lost quite a few places and then was behind already, lost a couple of positions there.
“But after that I felt pretty comfortable in the car; I felt we had more pace but there was always traffic or for [tyre] graining protection, you couldn’t push as much as you wanted, so that was a bit limiting. But I would say one of the better weekends.”
Hulkenberg was running the older spec VF-23, while Magnussen was running the latest upgraded version first introduced in Austin. Haas have admitted that their correlation isn’t lining up, the upgrades not behaving exactly like expected – but now at least they have nearly a whole race's worth of data to compare the two.
When Magnussen qualified in the top 10, coupled with having the upgrades fitted and the fact the cooler temperatures might have helped their Achilles’ heel of tyre degradation, there were hopes of points in Vegas – but the Dane found himself falling backwards as soon as his starting mediums began to wear.
That left him puzzled, he admitted, as the feeling in the car didn’t match up to the reality on the racetrack.
“I feel like we had the degradation and pace to score points, but we didn’t so I need to review it and see how we could have done better,” he said. “It feels like we had good degradation for once and pace in the race, even at the end of the stints.”
Haas are rooted to the bottom of the constructors’ table, four points adrift of Alfa Romeo in ninth.