Kevin Magnussen believes Haas missed out on a chance of scoring points in the Japanese Grand Prix through a combination of poor strategy and his “embarrassing” qualifying crash.
Qualifying took place on Sunday morning and Magnussen crashed at the end of his first timed lap, damaging his car after spinning in the final corner. Although he limped back to the pits, a number of significant repairs were required that meant Magnussen started at the back of the grid, but he still thinks points were possible after a strong first lap put him back in contention.
“Just didn’t hook it up in terms of pit stops and strategy,” Magnussen said. “It wasn’t terrible in terms of tires and pace — not like previous races where we’ve been hopeless because of whatever.
“If we had hooked everything up, if I had started up where I should have and got as good a start as I did get, then I would have been in a much better position. And then probably with a better pit stop and strategy we could have scored points, so it’s frustrating.”
Although placing some blame at the team’s door, Magnussen says the difficult race was triggered by his error in gusty conditions at Suzuka.
“I went on power and I had full throttle and then suddenly I got wheelspin and spun around, which was unfortunate and quite embarrassing really. But s• •t happens.
“It was still an issue (in the race), but at least now you know what to expect. This was on the first lap and I just didn’t expect to get such a big gust of wind there right in the tail. So I just showed everyone what not to do!”
Team principal Guenther Steiner had words of praise for the work the Haas mechanics did in repairing Magnussen’s car in time for the race, and says he feels the race performance was a familiar tale of a lack of competitiveness.
“The guys did a good job to get the car out again in good shape,” Steiner said. “These things never help but it happens. He was on a very fast lap, to be honest, and he got a little bit of wheelspin out of the last corner and it just turned on him. Was the wheelspin caused by wind or not? Yes, there was wind but was that the reason or was it just taking off on the curb? We don’t know exactly but that’s what it was.
“In the end we got out and he had a fantastic start and ended up in front of the car that started 10th after two or three corners. But then in the race it all went downhill. That’s the usual on a normal day, on a normal Sunday.”