Kevin Magnussen admits that Formula 1 is far from what he thought it would be as he aims for the day he can target higher than a seventh-place finish. Magnussen will contest the 2019 season with Haas his third year for the American outfit.
The Dane had an impressive 2018 campaign, fighting at the front of the midfield. However, Magnussen says that he is longing for the day that he is fighting at the front of the pack for race wins, stating that he never believed he would be happy with P7 results.
"It's still not fantastic, it's still seventh," he told ESPN. "It's so far from what I imagined... the mentality I have now is so far from anything I thought I would have. That part of it really sucks, it's not at all fun.
"But it's still Formula 1 and you still take pleasure in doing a good job, of course, but I'm looking forward to one day when there's going to be change."
"If you'd told me that as a kid, 'Kevin, one day you'll be happy with seventh', I'd have killed myself! But that's the situation. It's just Formula 1 as it is in these days, unless you're in one of the top three teams you can forget about podiums and wins.
"That's a bit sad. We take pleasure in the races where we feel we've done the best we could. Hopefully one day we can celebrate a bit more properly if one day we can get on the podium or a win, who knows."
Magnussen has been labelled as F1's bad boy following his hard on-track race-craft. The 26-year-old saw criticism come his way from some of his colleagues last year, but says his hard style has come from the wide F1 pecking order.
"No, it hasn't [been natural]. I try and make the most out of the situation I'm in. When you're fighting around those top ten places, sometimes you are in a situation where you have nothing to lose.
"If you are fighting for a championship, you're driving for Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull, you're guaranteed to be in the top six. You will always score points so you might as well take P6 instead of risking everything for P5.
"Whereas if you're in the midfield and you're P10 and you're being overtaken, you're screwed anyway, and it forces you to take a lot more risk. I think that's the difference.
"I'd be driving a lot differently if I was if I was fighting for the championship. I have fought for championships before [in junior categories] and [in those scenarios] I was driving differently. But that's just the way it is, where we are."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing