Haas F1 Team scored points for a third consecutive race as Kevin Magnussen finished ninth in the British Grand Prix Sunday at Silverstone Circuit. Teammate Romain Grosjean was unable to join Magnussen in the top-10, as he was forced to retire 37 laps into the 52-lap race around the 5.891-kilometer (3.66-mile), 18-turn track after contact with the Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr., sent both drivers off the track and out of the race.
Starting side-by-side in row four for the 10th round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, Magnussen and Grosjean lost positions not long after the drop of the green flag as the result of a skirmish ahead of them in turn three between polesitter Lewis Hamilton and third-place qualifier Kimi Räikkönen. The two Haas F1 Team drivers actually made contact in their attempt to navigate through the chaos in front of them, which began when Räikkönen’s Ferrari hit Hamilton’s Mercedes. Race stewards reviewed the incident between the two Haas F1 Team drivers and determined no further action was warranted, while Räikkönen would later serve a 10-second penalty for avoidable contact with Hamilton, who spun off course.
Employing a one-stop strategy, Magnussen was 10th and Grosjean 13th after the chaos in turn three. Hamilton, who dropped to the rear of the field during the opening-lap dustup with Räikkönen, made short work of regaining his position among the leaders. He took 13th from Grosjean on lap four and 10th from Magnussen on lap six.
Teams that opted for a two-stop strategy began peeling into pit lane on lap 14. Fernando Alonso pitted his McLaren from 12th place on lap 13, allowing Grosjean to move up to the 13th position. As the field continued to cycle through pit stops, the Haas F1 Team pilots moved up to their original grid positions with Magnussen in seventh and Grosjean in eighth by lap 21. They finally stopped on consecutive laps to jettison the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires they both started the race with for a new set of White mediums that would carry each driver home to the finish. Magnussen pitted on lap 25, dropping from seventh to 11th, and Grosjean stopped on lap 26, falling from seventh to 15th.
Magnussen picked up one position to regain 10th while Grosjean was still in 15th when the safety car was deployed for a single-car accident involving Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber on lap 32. Magnussen improved to ninth and Grosjean to 11th as teams employing a two-stop strategy made their way in and out of the pits.
The race went back to green on lap 38, whereupon Grosjean’s day came to a premature end when Sainz squeezed him into the apex of the fast, right-hand turn nine at Copse. Both drivers spun into the gravel trap and were unable to continue.
On the lap-42 restart, Magnussen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso waged a spirited battle for ninth place, swapping the position multiple times with Magnussen finally winning the spot.
Magnussen moved up to eighth when the Red Bull of Max Verstappen slid off course and out of the race on lap 46. Magnussen did his best to hold off Alonso for eighth over the final five laps of the race before finally relinquishing the position on the final lap.
Ten rounds into the 21-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team remains fifth in the constructors’ standings with 51 points, 19 points behind fourth-place Renault with a three-point margin over sixth-place Force India and McLaren while holding a 31-point advantage over seventh-place Toro Rosso. Magnussen is ninth in the driver’s championship with 39 points and Grosjean is 15th with 12 points.
“At the beginning of the race with Kevin, I think it was a mistake from both of us. It shouldn’t happen, so we need to work on that to ensure it doesn’t happy anymore. That obviously cost us a lot of positions on the first corner. After that, with Carlos (Sainz), I haven’t studied the footage, to be fair. It felt like he turned in quite hard on the corner and didn’t give me much room on the inside. I tried to go on the brake to avoid a contact, but there was not much room for me to go. It’s a shame.”
“We scored two points, and that’s all that matters. It was the best we could do today. It could have been better, and it should have been, but here we are. We still scored points.”
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal:
“We should go away from here happier and with more points. I think we lost quite a few points. We need to go away and evaluate what actually happened at turn one and avoid this for the future. This is obviously not acceptable because we keep on losing points while having a good car. I think we just need to go sit down and see what we can do to come away better, or at least where we should be. In the end, we’re not going home empty handed. The guys can be proud of what they achieved. In the end, we have two points. Three points-scoring finishes in a row is pretty good, but I wouldn’t say I’m ecstatic about it, as it should be a lot more.”
The 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship resumes with the German Grand Prix July 22 at the Hockenheimring in Hockenheim.