Two weeks since the last Formula 1 race – and now it’s time again! Third round of the 2023 Formula will be green-flagged in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend – and we’re hoping for another point-winning race by Kevin Magnussen.
K-Mag secured the team’s first championship point in Saudi Arabia after a strong race, where the Dane pushed his Ferrari powered Haas VF-23 race car well up through the field. The Dane had an intense battle with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, overtaking the Japanese driver just a few laps before the checkered flag. We would love to see more of that on Sunday!
“Scoring point is a big thing for everyone in the team, so we’re heading to Melbourne with a great motivation. The Australian Grand Prix is quite special for me since it I had my debut here in 2014. I really liked the old track, but I also think the promoter has done a pretty good job with the new layout. It’s maybe a bit similar to other tracks we go to, but it’s become a faster and more flowing circuit which is fun in a Formula 1 car,” says Kevin Magnussen.
FUN FACTS: The Australian Grand Prix is one of the most popular on the calendar with more than 400.000 spectators (!) passing the gates in Melbourne in 2022. It’s also the place where K-Mag secured a podium in his first ever Formula 1 race – an achievement he shares with another fast guy called Lewis Hamilton.
The first of the weekend’s three practice sessions will begin on Friday, followed by qualifying Saturday. Sunday’s 58-lap Australian Grand Prix begins at 15:00 local time (GMT +11).
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen endured a scrappy FP1 – the hour-long session interrupted by two red flag stop periods – one of which for a loss of GPS across the field meaning teams couldn’t monitor car position and closing speeds.
Hulkenberg had started the day off running the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tire before switching to a Red soft set – on which he clocked a 1:19.806 lap for P13 on the timesheet. Magnussen opted for the White hard tire to start before he too swapped onto the soft compound – the Dane unable to get a clean lap in due to the GPS issue, with a best recorded time of 1:21.147 (P20).
FP2 in the afternoon saw further disruption to run plans thanks to rain 20 minutes into the second session. Magnussen’s early running, while the track was dry, was hampered with a telemetry issue. Rain had just started to fall when Magnussen set his best lap of 1:21.266 (P19).
Hulkenberg had earlier logged a 1:20.194 lap on the hard rubber – netting the German P9 before the showers hit. Both cars later sampled the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tires to get a feel for the 5.279-kilometer (3.280-mile), 14-turn circuit in the damp conditions.
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team ran a total of 73 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 – 38 by Hulkenberg and 35 by Magnussen.
Update from Melbourne and the Australian Grand Prix, where Kevin Magnussen will start his MoneyGram Haas F1 Team VF-23 #20 from a P14 in Sunday’s race!
“The car was good but I messed up the lap when it counted unfortunately. It’s a shame on my side but I’m still looking forward to the race. P14 is not far away from the points, and we can fight,” said K-Mag after the session.
Green flag in eight hours! That’s 15:00 local time (GMT+10).
Big smiles before race start!
However, Kevin Magnussen didn’t make it to the end of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The Admin By Request powered Formula 1 driver retired from the race just three laps before the checkered flag as he hit the tyre wall and damaged his Haas F1 VF-23 machine.
Before that, K-Mag had a great start, moving up from P14 to P11 before making his first pitstop under a safetycar. Right after that, a red flag came out and eliminated the Dane’s advantage, destroying any chance of getting new points. And then came the accident.
“I brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 2 and the rim broke, the tire came off and I had to stop. It didn’t look like I was going to be able to score points, but it’s still unfortunate. It wasn’t my day, but it seemed like the car had decent pace, so I’m encouraged by that, and we’ll push next time,” said K-Mag after the race.
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team didn’t leave Melbourne without points, though. Kevin’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg finished P7 in the chaotic race, securing new points for the American team.
Round four of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship will take place on the 28-30 April in the streets of Baku, Azerbaijan.