The Haas F1 Team kicked off the 2022 season in flying form on Sunday as Kevin Magnussen finished fifth and Mick Schumacher 11th at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
At lights out, Magnussen started from seventh place on Pirelli P Zero Red soft tyres and worked his way up to fifth on the opening lap – he may have dropped back to 7th at the restart but enjoyed a lift after both Red Bulls retired.
Meanwhile, Schumacher began the race from 12th place on soft tyres and moved into the top 10.
However, after being clipped by Esteban Ocon in the Alpine, Schumacher emerged from a spin in 13th position.
When the safety car was deployed the German driver stayed out and moved into 10th, but was unable to keep that position with opponents on fresher tyres and crossed the line in 11th – marking the highest race finish of his Formula 1 career so far.
The team now holds third place in the Constructors’ Championship with 10 points and will be looking to add to their tally this weekend at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
An understandably delighted Guenther Steiner was all smiles after Sunday’s battle and told Sky Sports F1: “If you think about the last two years and then coming back like this, you cannot write a story like this.
“The guys at the race track the last two years, they had tough times but they kept their heads low, learned and the pit stops today very good and everything was just fine.
“They took the last year to get ready for a better car and the guys delivered a good car this year. It’s all down to the team, they can all be very proud. It’s just fantastic.”
Later the Team Principal said: “A very good day for us today, it’s good to be back for the whole team.
“They’ve done a fantastic job, not just today but for the last two years. Everyone kept their head high and just got ready for the moment that we would have a good car.
“When that moment came, everyone did their part and I’m very proud of them, and they can be proud of themselves.”
Entering into his second season with the American Outfit, Mick Schumacher spoke after the race and said: “With all the circumstances that we had with the spin in Turn 6 after contact – I don’t know how much damage that would’ve brought to the car – it didn’t feel amazing to drive afterwards.
“I think that was also represented in the pace we had. Seeing Kevin in P5 means that we have the car to do this, and that I can do the same.
“That also means we’re close to podiums if there’s a crazy weekend, which there usually is in Formula 1, so we should be able to do that.”
Kevin Magnussen returned to the paddock – after the team opted to let go of Nikita Mazepin just days before the season opener – and after his first outing in the car, he said: “The craziness just continues. We had a really good race and the car was good all the way through. We had a little more degradation than we would’ve hoped for on the first set of tires, but I also got passed a few people that were faster than me on the first lap and I didn’t really know whether to keep them behind or let them go.
“I also locked up a little bit so maybe it wasn’t perfect, but even though we pitted earlier we then extended the second stint on the same tire to get back on plan. Then there was a safety car that put everyone on the same tire and then it was just a sprint race to the end, so it was just intense. Obviously, a bit of luck there with the two Red Bull’s but we’ll take that.”