Kevin Magnussen believes eighth place was the most Haas could achieve during Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix as the team chipped away at the points gap to Renault in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship.

Magnussen led the midfield cars in qualifying on Saturday, securing P5 on the grid, but was passed by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in the opening stages before losing positions to the recovering Red Bull drivers.

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The Dane was tailed by both Force India drivers for much of the race, but managed to stay ahead to cross the line eighth, which he believed was the most Haas could have hoped for in Russia.

“It was a tough race. We didn’t quite have enough pace – we were lacking a bit – so I found myself defending from the Force Indias, basically from lap one,” Magnussen said.

“I think we got all that we could. Leclerc was way too fast for us. He just overtook and pulled away easily. So, I think keeping the Force Indias behind was the maximum we could do.

“The pace we had yesterday in qualifying was better than the pace we had in the race today.

“I’m looking forward to Suzuka now. I think we’ll be strong there, and it’s also just a phenomenal track to drive. I think we’re all looking forward to that.”

With Romain Grosjean finishing outside of the scoring positions in P11, Magnussen’s result saw Haas pick up four points in Russia, cutting the gap to Renault in the fight for P4 in the constructors’ championship down to 11 points with five races remaining.

“Again, we score points. We keep on adding to our account,” team boss Guenther Steiner said. “Both drivers did a very good job today. We almost finished in the same positions where we started, counting out the two Red Bulls, who we knew would be coming through the field.

“With nobody going out ahead of us at the front, that’s the best we can finish, or almost the best. Leclerc did a great job, as well.

“Overall, it’s been a good weekend. We’re always thereabouts to score points, and we did today.”

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