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Guenther Steiner and Haas ‘cautiously optimistic’ after their first points of the season

Kevin Magnussen’s tenth-place finish scores Haas their first points of the 2023 F1 season

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images

It did not happen until the closing moments, but Kevin Magnussen eventually fought his way past the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda late in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, pushing the Haas into tenth place.

Giving the team their first points of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

“First point this season. We had the speed but didn’t luck into it as some people were in a better position after the safety car, but the drivers fought hard, and we got a point,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “The whole team performed flawlessly all weekend, they kept their heads up and everyone just kept on pushing. That’s what we’re going to be doing all season long and I’m really looking forward to going to Australia now.”

Shortly after Lance Stroll’s on-track failure brought out the safety car, the Haas duo of Magnussen and teammate Nico Hülkenberg were able to pit, and put themselves in position to charge for points. By Lap 25, the duo were running in P11 and P12, with Magnussen just in front of his teammate.

Hülkenberg would eventually fade a bit, settling to remain in P12 by the checkered flag, but Magnussen then engaged in a lengthy battle with Tsunoda for tenth place. At one point Magnussen tried to get around the AlphaTauri on the outside, but was forced to lock-up his right front, and slid back from Tsunoda.

However, Magnussen kept charging, and finally worked his way around Tsunoda on Lap 46.

“We were able to have a good race, get a good start, manage the tires well – especially on the hard compound when I was on older tires than Tsunoda and actually had less degradation,” said Magnussen after the race. “I was then able to get past him at the end, and we managed to get a point.”

Even though Hülkenberg finished out of the points, he came away from the Grand Prix confident in the team moving ahead. “It was eventful. It’s always a massive challenge here on this track and it was tight. On one hand I’m disappointed I missed out on a point, but on the other hand I’m very pleased that I completed the race and we’ve learned a lot,” outlined Hülkenberg after the Grand Prix. “The underlying positive news is that we’re competitive. It was difficult to judge in Bahrain with damage, but here today we’re definitely competitive in the midfield and that makes me happy.”

The team now turns their attention to the Australian Grand Prix at the start of April, and Steiner is hopeful. As I said after Bahrain, I didn’t really know where we were with the car, but we now know where we think we are,” said the Haas Team Principal. “We’re in the mix, we’re actually pretty good I think – it’s all coming together. We didn’t panic after Bahrain – now we’re cautiously optimistic.”