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Magnussen: ‘Cool’ Haas F1 can compete for points at every race

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Kevin Magnussen finds it “cool” that Haas is now in a position to fight for points at every race after making more progress through its second season in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous operation onto the F1 grid in 2016, enjoying a solid debut campaign that saw the team finish eighth in the constructors’ championship with 29 points.

Haas has made an even stronger start to 2017, picking up 21 points through the opening eight races and ticking off its first double-points finish in Monaco.

Magnussen even found himself running third at one stage in Baku before eventually finishing seventh, but the Dane is boosted by the team’s form.

“I definitely feel that at each race points are possible, which is a really cool feeling,” Magnussen said.

“It’s good going into every race knowing that you can fight for something. It’s cool. The team had performed extremely well in its first season.

“Now, in its second season, it looks like we’ve made improvements and have already taken small steps forward, and that’s not easy in the second year of a Formula 1 team.”

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.