Kevin Magnussen believes 2017 has been his strongest season for races, but one of his toughest in terms of qualifying. In his debut season for the Haas team, he managed 5 points finishes including a 7th place at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, making it his most successful season since his debut at McLaren in 2014.
Magnussen edged out teammate Grosjean 7-5 in two car race finishes but was comfortably beaten in the qualifying head to head 12-7. Despite finishing ahead more often the Dane was still edged out 28-19 in terms of points.
Magnussen suggested that his qualifying struggles may have been down to having an inherently more oversteery car than he would like: “I think it’s been my best year, especially on Sundays. This year hasn’t been my strongest year in qualifying. This car is a bit oversteery on entry to the corners and that’s not my preferred balance in the car. I struggle a little bit when I have oversteer on entry.
"I can handle mid-corner and exit, and also in high-speed, but if I can’t brake and enter the corner with a stable rear I struggle a little bit so that’s been a little bit of a problem this year. It calms down in the race, when you fill up the car with fuel.
The 25-year-old went on to explain that the softer tyres used in qualifying may also have contributed to his struggles and singled it out as an area of improvement for 2018: "Often, it’s worse on ultra-soft than super-soft and in the race, you often run with the harder compound and it helps.
"That is something I need to personally work on for next year, to try and dial in the car more from the beginning when pre-season testing whereas this year I spent a bit of time trying to find out where my problem is and then you start working on that problem, next year, I will have a better understanding and be able to hit the ground running."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing