Haas drivers wake up on race day ‘knowing we can fight’


Haas drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen achieved a commendable double-points finish in the Australian GP, the pair confirming that the pace of their car now shines brighter on race day than during qualifying.

A solid display and some handy teamwork once again carried Hulkenberg into the points while Magnussen scored his first top-ten finish of 2024.

The Dane had put himself on the verge of the points in the latter part of the race, but George Russell’s crash just two laps from the checkered flag ensured Magnussen presence among the top ten.

Haas’ result was partially setup by the team’s decision to order Magnussen to let Hulkenberg pass him a few laps after the race’s early virtual safety car period as the team had split the pair’s tyre strategies, with the Hulk set for a longer opening stint on the hard rubber.

“The VSC didn’t help me,” said Magnussen. “But on the flip-side, it helped Nico so we could get him back into the battle and it’s fantastic to get three points here.”

Last season, with a car that performed well in qualifying but proved hopeless on race day due to its tyre degradation issues, Haas’ energy was often wasted on Sundays.

But this year, the team’s VF-24 is proving much stronger in race trim than in qualifying, thanks in large part to its more benign treatment of its tyre compounds.

“It’s very encouraging and it’s a different way to go racing,” admitted Magnussen.

“Last year we woke up on race day knowing it’s not going to be good. Today, I woke up knowing we would have a chance to fight, and it was true.

“We were stronger with our race pace than qualifying, and we just need to keep working in this direction.”

Commenting on his race, Hulkenberg was once again quick to praise Magnussen for lending him a helping hand on his way to P9.

“The first VSC helped me and I overtook a car at each of my stops at the pit exit,” commented the German. “That really made my race today, that together with the VSC and our teamwork – so I’m really happy.”

The 36-year-old also echoed K-Mag’s comments on how Haas now has a car that is stronger on race day than in qualifying trim.

“I feel more encouraged today that the car felt better than in qualifying, which is different from last year, but it’s practical to have it this way around.”

Interestingly, Haas’ productive start to its 2024 campaign is at odds with the pre-season predictions of team boss Ayao Komatsu who repeatedly warned that the US outfit’s car would likely bookend the field in F1’s early races.


The Japanese engineer was obviously delighted with his team’s performance, although he acknowledged that there is still room for improvement.

“After yesterday’s qualifying I said we expected to have better race pace but to be able to get double points is better than expected, so it just goes to show that you need to be there,” said Komatsu.

“You need to do everything perfect to be able to pick up those last available positions.

“It wasn’t perfect today, there’s some things that we need to improve, but overall, I’m so happy for the team.

“Both drivers drove a brilliant race, and the pit stop crew, when it was critical, they delivered, they got our drivers out in front of the competition.”

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