Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean excel for Haas' best F1 result
Magnussen seventh in Drivers' Championship and eyeing winning 'best of the rest' title after Haas hit new highs in Austrian GP
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 10/12/18 12:18pm
"Proud", "incredible" and "fantastic" - just some of the words used by the Haas team to describe their best-ever F1 result at the Austrian GP.
Romain Grosjean finished fourth, scoring his first points of the season in the process, while team-mate Kevin Magnussen was fifth as F1's newest team enjoyed their most successful day since joining the grid three years ago.
On a day of record-breaking achievement for the Haas team:
* Grosjean's fourth-place finish was the best individual result in the team's three-year history.
* The team scored their third-ever double-points finish, with Grosjean's fourth and Magnussen's fifth also amounting to the team's best-ever collective result.
* Magnussen climbed to seventh in the Drivers' Championship.
* Haas overtook McLaren in the Constructors' Championship with their haul of 22 points leaving them just 13 behind fourth-placed Renault.
* Haas guaranteed 2018 will be their best season in F1 to date after overtaking their haul of points from 2017 having already overhauled their tally of 29 in 2016, their debut season.
Let's start with Grosjean.
The Frenchman has endured a series of well-documented setbacks and disappointments in 2018, most notably his accident at last week's French GP and crash behind the Safety Car in Baku.
But the mercurial Grosjean was back to his best at the Red Bull Ring, beating Daniel Ricciardo and - following the Ferrari driver's demotion - Sebastian Vettel in qualifying before guiding his Haas to fourth on race day.
"I got a lot of punches and criticism but the team has always been behind me," a beaming Grosjean told Sky Sports F1. "This weekend was what we wanted to stop that negative spiral and get back on a positive one.
"Here we've shown we can do some good racing and going back home and knowing my boys are proud of me is...YES!"
Like all the other frontrunners with the exception of Lewis Hamilton, Grosjean pitted behind the Virtual Safety Car, resulting in an ultra-long and rather hazardous final stint to the line.
"The last 20 laps were not fun," Grosjean reflected. "There were blisters on the rears and I was afraid they were going to explode at any time."
Magnussen, meanwhile, continues to excel. Very arguably one of the drivers of the season so far, his run to fifth propelled the Dane to seventh in the Drivers' Championship above Fernando Alonso - the driver who replaced him four years ago at McLaren.
"It's incredible," Magnussen said to Sky F1. "Seventh is the best of the rest. We have three teams that realistically nobody else can best, so if l can be seventh that means l have won my little championship."
Haas, too, are also in with a shout of winning a mini-championship of their own: just 13 points separate them from fourth-placed Renault, a team they out-paced by eight tenths of a second in qualifying.
"It's almost frightening to say 'ok, we're going for fourth' because it's almost too good to be true," said Magnussen. "People said Force India did a great job last season - which they did - because they finished fourth and are a small team, but we are a much smaller than them and now we are fighting for fourth. Really, really proud."
Roll on Silverstone.