The F1 weekend in Spain got off to a good start for the Haas F1 Team, with both cars returning to Q3 for the first time since the 2019 Brazilian GP. However, things quickly went downhill on Sunday: Kevin Magnussen started from P8 but fell far behind after a collision with Lewis Hamilton on the first lap. In the further course of the race, the Dane made another pit stop, but did not get past P17 due to the use of hard tires, among other things. Teammate Mick Schumacher made it into Q3 for the first time and finished sixth after the start. However, his two-stop strategy also turned out to be wrong and finally threw him back to P14.
After an excellent start in Bahrain, Haas has only managed two ninth places in the five subsequent races. Team boss Günther Steiner sees more potential in Miami and Barcelona in particular and therefore speaks of missed opportunities. “It hurts a bit because it’s missed opportunities. The car seems to have good speed as we qualified eighth and tenth. So we have to get points at some point,” says Steiner. “We missed chances and sometimes had bad luck with the safety car, which of course leads to frustration. Not everything is bad, luck just has to smile at us on Sunday.”
In fact, a stopper doesn’t work for Magnussen
Steiner admits Magnussen didn’t have it any easier as he had to do two very long stints after his first lap stop. “If you have an incident on the first lap, then so be it. It’s very frustrating that after Turn 4 we ended up where we ended up. I think Lewis ran into Kevin for understeer and that was it,” he explains. “The strategy we tried didn’t work, but we had nothing to lose. We tried to do something that wasn’t there , but it still didn’t make a difference. He came out a lot later than Lewis because he had to slow down. Then he made a one stop. It was actually two stops but the first stop was after lap 1. We got it open Set C1 to see what would happen but it didn’t work. Lewis came back and made up time but we didn’t.”
Haas gets the chance for revenge in Monaco next weekend. Last year the VF-21 wasn’t a competitive car, but Schumacher still showed hope in VT3 at the fourteenth time. He then missed qualifying after a crash, but Steiner believes the German can do well again this year in the Principality. “In any case, I hope that we can do well again, like we did well here in qualifying. In Monaco, 95 percent of the race has already been completed on Saturday, so you have to concentrate on that. It’s not going to be easy and it’s a new experience with these cars. And as always, you just try to do your best.”