Kevin Magnussen qualified eighth for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, 0.074s behind number seven Valtteri Bottas. Mick Schumacher also made it into Q3 in the other Haas for the first time in his Formula 1 career. He finished tenth behind Daniel Ricciardo. Bottas was surprised by Haas’ result after qualifying. His Alfa Romeo team has brought new parts to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. “I don’t think we would have finished seventh without these upgrades. The confusing part is that Haas has no updates and it’s still there. I don’t quite understand that,” said the Finn.
Haas team boss Günther Steiner is happy to explain Bottas. “There are many teams working with upgrades and it was almost critical that we didn’t have them. Can you imagine if we had had an upgrade we would have been on pole,” joked Steiner in response to a question from Motorsport.com† “I’ve always said that we have yet to find the sweet spot of this car. They bring upgrades to Barcelona because they know the track very well, but I was like, ‘Okay, you already know the track and now is a good time to get the most out of the car.
“You don’t really know a circuit like Miami or Jeddah and don’t have a lot of data about it. Then you try to find something for that job. In Barcelona, however, you can take a closer look at the car. That’s what we did,” Steiner explained. “If we had installed updates, we would not have understood them and might have become slower instead of faster. So we’re using Barcelona to get the best out of this car so we can build on that foundation in the next race and then we’ll roll out updates.”
Haas was hit and miss in the first five games of the season. “I don’t think we fully understand the car yet,” said Steiner. “A car doesn’t get faster or slower from track to track. So we had to get to grips with the basics better because we knew there was more to the car.”