Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher finished Saturday’s 23-lap Sprint race in P7 and P9 respectively, with both drivers subsequently assuming those positions on the grid for Sunday’s 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
With the initial Sprint start being aborted – a second formation lap meant the afternoon’s race was immediately reduced to 23 laps from the planned 24. Magnussen and Schumacher launched off the line from P6 and P7 – both utilizing the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires. They successfully held their positions through to lap nine when the charging Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing) maximized his DRS (Drag Reduction System) to overtake Schumacher for P7 at Turn 3. The Mexican then picked off Magnussen for P6 two laps later at the same spot.
Once again both VF-22s demonstrated good race pace – Magnussen having earlier been pushing the Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Battle then ensued with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton as the seven-time world champion closed in on Schumacher in P8 in lap 11. With Magnussen losing the DRS to Ocon ahead, he held on to P7 with Schumacher and Hamilton directly behind locked in the fight for P8, both with their DRS in play – the trio of cars now providing much of the entertainment as they pushed each other around the short 4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile), 10-turn circuit. 10 laps later Hamilton eventually passed Schumacher for P8 and while he closed the gap to Magnussen over the final two laps with his DRS, the Dane took the checkered in P7 just 0.9s ahead. Magnussen earned two points for his efforts with points in the Sprint being awarded down to eighth place.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen converted his pole position into Sprint victory ahead of the Scuderia Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
Kevin Magnussen, Driver No. 20, Haas F1 Team
“I didn’t expect that we would be able to do that, especially after this morning in practice. It didn’t look good, it didn’t feel good, so we made some changes but the cars are under parc ferme so it’s very limited to how much you can change. The changes worked and the pace was more of less back for the race. We’ve got two points so I’m very happy and we can certainly fight for points tomorrow given yesterday’s performance. I’m looking forward to another try tomorrow.”
Mick Schumacher, Driver No. 47, Haas F1 Team
“I think the battle with Lewis was quite fun. It’s surprising to see that we were able to fight for that long, and even the Red Bull behind us wasn’t that much quicker, so that was a nice feeling. I think that we could’ve had points today but we didn’t.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“Following a little bit of a troubled FP2 where we weren’t where we wanted to be with the balance of the car, the guys did a great job to put the car in a place where it was performing in the Sprint race. Both drivers did a good job, Kevin was the only one who brought back points, but that was thanks to the help of Mick. He first held off Perez and then Hamilton for a long time. It was very cool to see Mick holding off a seven-time world champion. It was very good team work and I’m pleased with the result, hopefully we can do something similar tomorrow again and get both cars in the points.”
Sunday July 10 – The 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix starts at 15:00 (CET).
Haas F1 Team PR