Kevin Magnussen has been one of the standouts of the season, the Dane shining in a competitive Haas; outscoring his teammate Romain Grosjean across the first three races.
It’s been a long-time coming for the 25-year-old, whose aggressive driving style has not won him many friends in the paddock.
… especially since he joined American team Haas last year, taking things to the next level after Esteban Gutiérrez failed to score a point in 2016.
SOUNDBITE (English) ROMAIN GROSJEAN,
F1 DRIVER, HAAS:
“Kevin is a great driver, [he] has got a lot of experience, finished on the podium here back in the past, so you know he’s a fast driver and he’s a good recruit for the team.”
And a good recruit Magnussen’s proved, outqualifying Grosjean 2-1 this year, outracing him 2-0 when they could be compared, and scoring all 11 points for the team, with a competitive car from the outset.
He’s also a world away from the fresh-faced McLaren protégé, who made his F1 debut in 2014 – a transition year for the historic squad. Its MP4-29 the last with Mercedes power. A podium for Magnussen and Button at the first race in Australia as good as it got.
McLaren then dropped the Dane for 2-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, Magnussen spending 2015 without a race drive, before joining Renault - in its transition season, then switching to Haas…
… and the security of a multi-year contract, a first for him in his F1 career.
This season’s VF-18 has been a big improvement – one that’s catapulted the team to the head of the midfield pack on occasion.
Solid development, using Ferrari’s windtunnel, will help it stay there…
But Magnussen has already proved that he’s highly capable of top results with the right equipment, while a move to Dubai during the off-season has ensured a better location for training and travel.
It’s all looking great for the Dane.