Haas’ Kevin Magnussen scored the team’s and his first-ever fastest lap in Formula 1 in the Singapore GP, but the Dane felt it was worth nothing more than a smile.
The weekend for Magnussen had been terrible until the race after he was knocked out in Q1 itself and he just did not have the confidence with the car. The race on Sunday continued to be a tough one for the Dane as he was unable to make huge inroads.
He found himself battling outside the Top 10 for the major part of the race. With nothing working for him, the team decided for a late pit stop to switch him to the hypersoft compound and push for the fastest lap.
He eventually set a 1m41.905s lap time which was not only the fastest in the race but also a lap record for the tweaked circuit beating the previous best of 1m45.008s set by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the other layout.
It was also the Dane’s first-ever fastest lap in 75 starts, together with Haas’ in 56, but it did not bring much joy other than a smile as he only finished 18th. “It was a long day at the office,” said Magnussen after the race.
“Obviously, it was a tough day for the team. I guess a slight highlight was getting the track record. It’s not really worth anything but perhaps a smile.” The team in fact felt that the car had much better pace despite the results showing otherwise.
Even Romain Grosjean had a difficult time, finishing only 15th with the time penalty for ignoring blue flags. In fact, the Frenchman came under severe criticism from the FIA’s race director Charlie Whiting – who even apologised to Hamilton for the mishap.
Whiting felt that Grosjean is experienced enough to have done a better job in those circumstances. However, the Haas driver defended his call as he was fighting against Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin when Hamilton came to lap them.
“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” said Grosjean. “I believe I did my best. I was fighting with Sergey, who was doing a little bit of go-kart racing out there. I couldn’t really slow down.
“Pierre [Gasly] was on my gearbox and Sergey was on my front wing. I passed him, then as soon as I passed him, I let Lewis by.” The Frenchman though lamented the tyre choice by Pirelli as he felt the hypersoft compound went away in just 10 laps.