Kevin Magnussen was so determined to score a top-ten finish in Singapore following his remarkable performance in qualifying that he says he “never fought so hard” for a single point.
Marina Bay proved an outlier for Haas, with Magnussen and teammate Nico Hulkenberg delivering to the US outfit its first double Q3 for the first time this season.
Magnussen qualified an impressive P6 while Hulkenberg clocked in three spots behind in P9, and the performance naturally led the team to harbor hopes of an equally strong performance on race day.
However, such a prospect implied that Haas’ chronic tyre degradation issues would not revisit the team on Sunday evening. Fortunately, circumstances that led a second pitstop for Magnussen mitigated the latter’s tyre troubles.
But the Dane was made to fight hard for the privilege of scoring a single point at the end of the day.
“It was a hard fight, I don’t think I’ve ever fought so hard for a point,” he admitted after the race.
“But I really really wanted it and you know after qualifying it would have been so disappointing not to get anything out of it.
“It looked tough at one point once I had that off in T1/T2 I thought it was game over my tyres were just done.
“So we pitted, for softs and it worked really well and the pace was good, we made up a few positions and a few people crashed and I got a point and I’m glad I worked so hard for it.”
Magnussen had indeed run wide at one point while battling Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in the first part of the race, which had dropped him out of the top-ten and all the down to 16th.
But a Virtual Safety Car triggered by Esteban Ocon’s stranded Alpine on lap 44 prompted the Haas charger to swap his tyres for a faster set of soft rubber.
It took some time for the move to pay off, but five laps from the checkered flag, Magnussen was on the move, progressing from P14 to P11 and then to P10 when George Russell up ahead crashed on the final lap.
“We got an opportunity and we took it,” Magnussen added. “We were ready to capitalise.
“I always say we go into these races we know that the race pace isn’t going to be that good and tyre deg isn’t going to be on our side.
“So we’ve just got to be ready to take any opportunity there is and we did that today and it paid off.”
Hulkenberg was in contention for a spot among the top ten – and comfortably ahead of Magnussen – with ten laps to go.
But the German driver’s degraded hard tyres eventually pushed him down the order to 13th where he concluded his day.
“I think we probably missed an opportunity in that final VSC, I feel there could have been points there as I was way ahead of Kevin and he managed 10th,” commented the Hulk.
“So yeah, we need to review that. Bit of a shame, disappointed but drove a good race so nothing you know personally to be unhappy about today.”
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