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Steiner buoyed by Magnussen's early-season success

Guenther Steiner, Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team
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Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner says that Kevin Magnussen's run of back-to-back top ten finishes shows that the team is in a strong position in 2018 - even if it hasn't always had the best of luck to date.

Magnussen finished in fifth place in Bahrain, and was in the points again last time out in Shanghai.

In all likelihood the Dane would have been near the front again in the season opener in Australia. He was running in fourth place until a pit stop left him with an improperly attached wheel that forced his retirement.

“We showed in the first three races that we can be competitive at the high end of the midfield," Steiner asserted. "And we’re very confident we can be there in Baku."

It's certainly a much better start to this season than 2018. Magnussen finished in the top ten only five times all year.

“He likes the car and the car is good and that combination has given him confidence," Steiner said when asked about Magnussen's improvement in 2018.

"He doesn’t have to overdo things, he believes in himself that he can do a good job with a good car.

“I think being with us for two years now has a lot to do with it," he continued. "He hasn’t had this before.

"The first year, he figured out everybody. He knows who is who. He likes the atmosphere around the team," Steiner explained. "Now, coming into the second season is something new. And it’s helped pull the talent out of him."

By contrast, team mate Romain Grosjean's season has got off to a rocky start. He shared Magnussen's fate in Melbourne, and was outside the points in both of the next two races.

“It’s actually not a problem," Steiner insisted. "While Romain hasn’t had the results he would’ve liked and we all wished we had, for one reason or another, there was never a lack of performance.

"There are no issues within the team. We have a good team atmosphere and Romain will get the results he and we want. I have no doubt about that.”

If Grosjean does bounce back to form, then Steiner could be left with the same headache experienced by many team managers in F1 - the curse of the clashing team mates.

"Sometimes you need to manage emotions," Steiner said. "It’s not an easy thing to manage, but it’s a nice thing to [have to] manage.

"Before there were more ups and downs and we weren’t always in contention to finish in the top-10," he added. "They’re pushing each other in a different place and it’s more obvious.

"It seems like we could always have two cars in the points if everything goes right, and that’s really the only thing that has changed.

"I think we have good ground rules in place between the two drivers," he insisted. "But having a solid car in the VF-18 allows us to always compete for points."

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