Kevin Magnussen says Haas is targeting points in the Singapore Grand Prix after both the team’s cars reached Q3 in qualifying.
After a challenging run of races, Haas was expecting to struggle at the Marina Bay Street Circuit this weekend.
However, the American outfit took advantage of Red Bull’s surprise struggles to get both cars through to the pole position shootout, with Magnussen and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg wounding up sixth and ninth respectively.
Having secured his best starting spot since the Miami Grand Prix, Magnussen has made no secret of what the team’s target should be in Sunday’s race.
“We’ve got to be thinking about points,” he said. “It has been a good weekend so far, bit surprising but we’ll take it, we’ll try to take advantage tomorrow.”
The Haas VF-23 has proven to regularly a good one-lap car throughout 2023 but has struggled massively with race pace and tyre degradation.
That being said, the bulk of the qualifying efforts have laid at Hulkenberg’s door this year and the German driver made his eighth Q3 appearance on Saturday, finishing ninth.
“I didn’t see that coming to be honest,” Hulkenberg admitted.
“I thought that if we made it into Q3 it would be a good effort but to both in there and in P6, I didn’t see that.”
Magnussen shared Hulkenberg’s surprise and was keen to stress Haas needs to learn why it has been so good in Singapore so far.
“I think it’s interesting and I hope we can find out why some of the reasons we’re stronger here to try and replicate later on and hopefully we can learn something as well, but for now of course the focus is to try and get something out of tomorrow,” the Dane added.
“As I said it’s a good place to start up high. Knowing that usually our race pace is not as good, Singapore is a nice place to be in this position.”
Asked about the team’s prospects in the race, in particularly long-run pace, Magnussen remains hopeful Singapore can keep producing positive results for Haas.
“Doesn’t seem like it’s as good as the short run, but we’ve been surprised this weekend many times so hopefully we can be surprised again tomorrow,” he expressed.
This is a sentiment shared by Hulkenberg, who said after Saturday’s qualifying session: “The long run yesterday didn’t look too encouraging, that’s why I’m a little bit careful and cautious, but maybe something will happen.
“We know that over one lap we’ve been strong that continued obviously here today and I think this track being low-speed dominated favours that even more.
“Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
The Haas pairing has failed to take any points since the Austrian Grand Prix Sprint Race, where Hulkenberg finished in sixth place and the team currently lies eighth in the Constructors’ standings on 11 points, 10 behind seventh-placed Williams.
The team’s struggles with its current car concept have prompted a switch to the ‘downwash’ sidepod concept, which will be introduced to the VF-23 next month in Austin.
With both Williams lying several positions back on Sunday’s grid, Haas will need to make the most of its opportunity to regain some ground on its rivals.