Kevin Magnussen is better at adapting to problems with the set-up of his Formula 1 car compared to teammate Romain Grosjean, according to Haas team principal Guenther Steiner. 

The American squad’s drivers have endured contrasting fortunes in the opening three rounds of the campaign, with Magnussen scoring all of Haas' points so far, while Grosjean is yet to record a top-10 finish in 2018. 

Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran inside the top five in Australia before a disastrous cross-threaded wheel nut issue forced both drivers into retirement following their pit stops. Magnussen recovered to score points in the last two rounds, with Grosjean missing out. 

Steiner said the Frenchman has struggled with his car set-up compared to Magnussen in the early stages of the new season.

“With Romain, the car needs to be more perfect to his liking whereas Kevin can drive around a lot of things,” Steiner explained. “Both things have pluses and minuses. If you have the perfect car [Grosjean] is fantastic but Kevin sometimes says ‘it’s OK’. 

“I think he learned and he pushes hard for what he wants as well now. If Kevin has a small problem he adapts better to it drive around it. We just need to get them both in their zone where they can both perform because they can perform. I am pretty relaxed about this because I’m convinced we can do it.”

Loose bodywork hampered Grosjean’s Bahrain Grand Prix but he was able to out-qualify Magnussen in China and made it into Q3. But Grosjean was quikly caught by Magnussen - starting the race on fresher tyres due to being outside of the top 10 - and was instructed to let the Dane through in the early stages. 

Steiner believes there were “circumstances” behind Grosjean’s frustrating start to the season and is backing his driver to recover. 

“I wouldn’t say he has been underperforming. I think there have been circumstances like in Australia where he performed well, there was no problem but I never jump to conclusions after one or two races. 

“It’s a long year and he will come back. We need to tweak the car a little bit for him to make it more comfortable performance-wise for him to drive. We need to get it a little bit more to his liking and then we’ll have him back to where we want him.”

 

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