A Red Bull victory for Max Verstappen and third place for Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari’s start woes for Kimi Raikkonen and welcome comeback by Sebastian Vettel and an off-song weekend for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas highlighted an enjoyable Malaysian Grand Prix, the 19th and for the moment, final trip to the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur.
NBCSN catches up with the Formula 1 field after today’s race in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series, Paddock Pass.
Will Buxton, NBCSN’s pit reporter and insider, checks in with the latest edition of the show below, including a long-form interview with Bottas done earlier in the weekend.
Part 1: Podium finishers
Part 2: Breakout interview with Valtteri Bottas
Part 3: Chats with Sergio Perez, Stoffel Vandoorne, Romain Grosjean, and Pierre Gasly
Car No.: 20
Best Finish: P7 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 14th
Kevin Magnussen’s move to Haas proved to be a win-win situation for both parties through 2017 as they banished the struggles of the previous Formula 1 season.
For Magnussen, the move came after a difficult one-season stint with Renault who despite offering him a way back into F1 after a year on the sidelines were unable to produce a car allowing the Dane to fight far up the order.
Haas had not expected to be able to be that much further ahead, but Magnussen nevertheless immediately offered an uplift in performance after replacing Esteban Gutierrez, who failed to score a single point through 2016.
Magnussen picked up Haas’ first points of the season with a solid drive in China, and was able to capitalize on the bonkers Baku race to take P7, which would ultimately be his best result of the season.
Consistency was a real issue for Haas throughout the year as it continued to have teething problems most new teams encounter, and while Magnussen was more able to drive around the problems than teammate Romain Grosjean, he lacked the ultimate pace of his teammate.
That said, Magnussen’s season highlight came in Mexico, a track Haas expected to be its worst of the season. The ex-McLaren driver qualified on the last row but produced a stunning display to finish eighth, soaking up pressure from Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton late on.
The signs are positive moving forward. Next year should be Haas’ best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations, presenting a good opportunity for Magnussen to prove his star quality.
Season High: Taking P8 in Mexico when Haas expected to be slowest.
Season Low: Lagging home P15 at Spa as Grosjean hit the points.