Formula 1’s pecking order has become so competitive that there is “not really a midfield anymore”, according to Haas team principal Günther Steiner. 

A tight battle continues to rage for supremacy in 2018 for the ‘best of the rest’ tag behind F1’s leading three teams Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, with Renault currently heading the scrap over fourth place, 19 points clear of Haas. 

Renault has been the most consistent midfield outfit so far this season, though Haas has often boasted the most competitive package, while the likes of Force India, McLaren, Toro Rosso and Sauber have also mixed it up inside the top 10. 

“There is nobody who is uncompetitive. There is not really a midfield anymore. It’s just the rest. There’s the top-three and then the rest,” Steiner explained.  

“Everybody from fourth to 10th can be competing for points this year, as we’ve all seen. Now, being fifth, it’s nice to be there. 

“After testing it was realistic to think we could be there, but we were very conscious that it would be hard work, and it is hard work, actually.”

Haas was the only midfield side to record points across F1’s first-ever triple header - lifting the American squad up to fifth - though just three points separates the team from seventh-placed McLaren.

But Steiner remains confident his team has the potential to hold the current position it holds, and possibly challenge Renault for fourth by the end of the year. 

“I think with the potential of the car we have shown over the last three races, it is possible to aim for fourth,” he added. “If we achieve it or not, that’s a different question. 

“I don’t want to be arrogant and say we will finish fourth, because by no means is it a given. We are competing with three very strong teams for this position.

“We will try, we will give it our best and, hopefully, we end up fourth.”

Kevin Magnussen, who has scored 39 of the 51 points Haas has managed, believes the team’s 2018 challenger is strong enough to prevue in the fight over fourth. 

“We’ve got the potential in the car to be even higher than this. We should aim to keep this position, or even target one more position,” Magnussen said. 

“I think Renault is very consistent, but we can beat them at times, and we have done many times this year. 

“Most of the time we’re level with them on pace, so it should be possible to keep fighting for this position all the way to the end.”