F1: Magnussen and Grosjean deliver double-points return

Kevin Magnussen came eighth in Sunday's Japansese Grand Prix
Kevin Magnussen came eighth in Sunday's Japansese Grand Prix

For the second time in Haas F1 Team history, drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean delivered a double-points return as they finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Magnussen came from 12th on the grid at the Suzuka Circuit to claim eighth and Grosjean followed his Banbury team-mate, rising from his 13th place starting spot to earn ninth. The first time both drivers finished in the points was ten races ago at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Winning the race from pole was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas driver scored his 61st career Formula One victory. Combined with a DNF by Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, his nearest championship pursuer, the Brackley driver increased his lead in the standings to a stout 59 points.

The double-points effort saw Haas regain seventh in the constructors standings, leapfrogging the Renault factory outfit. Haas came into the 16th round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship trailing Renault by five points but departed with a single-point advantage over the Enstone team and closed the gap on sixth-place Toro Rosso to nine points.

Making the achievement even more gratifying was the tireless work the team put in after Grosjean crashed in qualifying on Saturday. Crew members had to rebuild his car when a spin in turn five sent him off the track and hard into the barrier.

Grosjean walked away unhurt but his Haas VF-17 sustained heavy damage. But come the start of the Japanese Grand Prix, it was business as usual, with Grosjean taking a gleaming car to the grid.

It took until lap 40 for both drivers to return to the top ten when the Renault duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer finally made their scheduled pit stops.

Running ninth and tenth, Magnussen and Grosjean set their sights on eighth-place Felipe Massa. After a dogged pursuit, Magnussen made an aggressive move underneath Massa in between turns one and two on lap 42.

After some slight banging of wheels off turn two, Magnussen had eighth and that opened the door for Grosjean to also overtake Massa. Without hesitation, Grosjean powered his Haas VF-17 past Massa and followed in the tyre tracks of Magnussen.

The duo held their spots comfortably for the final ten tours around Suzuka Circuit. Grosjean is 13th in the championship standings with 28 points and Magnussen is 14th with 15 points.