A case of déjà vu for Steiner but Magnussen takes points

Kevin Magnussen on his way to sixth place in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix
Kevin Magnussen on his way to sixth place in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix

Rich Energy Haas F1 Team boss Guenther Steiner must have had a wry smile on his face after Sunday’s season-opener.

Kevin Magnussen delivered a strong points-paying performance in Sunday’s season opening Australian Grand Prix.

This year we take eight points away from Melbourne, last year we were last going away from Australia

Team boss Guenther Steiner

Magnussen came sixth at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit but Banbury team-mate Romain Grosjean was unable to join him in the points, as a loose left-front wheel ended his race after 29 laps, in a similar incident to last year.

It was Magnussen’s best result in the race since he finished second in 2014 and it equalled the Banbury team’s best finish in the Australian Grand Prix since the squad’s 2016 debut.

The trio of perennial series leaders – five-time and reigning champions Mercedes, 16-time champions Scuderia Ferrari and four-time champions Red Bull – comprised the top-five, making sixth the best result possible for the Banbury outfit.

Steiner said: “Déjà vu from last year on Romain’s car it looks like, a pit-stop gone wrong. But last year, after Australia, we went the rest of the season, without another pit-stop issue.

“On the other side, Kevin finishing sixth is a great achievement for the team, we know the car is strong.

“This year we take eight points away from Melbourne, last year we were last going away from Australia.

“It’s better than 2018, I think with this car we can be strong in all the remaining 20 races.”

Magnussen said: “I’m obviously sad for the team not to have both cars get to the finish, especially after we both had such good qualifying, so I’m gutted for his side that they didn’t get anything.

“Sixth for me is very good, I made a good start and had a really good car from there. I was able to push the whole race and look after my tyres.”

Grosjean added: “The new rules are great for following another car but the tyres are still what they were last year, as you push, you slide, then you lose grip. Even though we can follow easier than in the past, overtaking is still complicated.”