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Hulkenberg point in F1 Saudi Arabian GP like "gold dust" for Haas

Nico Hulkenberg's point in Formula 1's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was like "gold dust" for Haas, says team boss Ayao Komatsu.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, talks to the media

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Hulkenberg made a late pitstop work thanks to a defensive masterclass by Kevin Magnussen, who held up rivals to create a pit window for his team-mate.
There was controversy over Magnussen, who already faced a 10-second penalty for clashing with Alex Albon, who then overtook RB's Yuki Tsunoda off the track and picked up another 10s penalty.
But the overriding emotion was one of elation for Haas, which came into the season with muted ambitions following a disastrous 2023 campaign that led to the removal of long-time team principal Guenther Steiner.
Amid a two-tier grid with two groups of five teams, Haas has dragged itself towards the front of the second group after solving most of its debilitating race pace issues.
But with the front group's 10 cars usually covering all the points positions, it means any top 10 finishes for teams like Haas are set to be rare. A first point became available in Jeddah after Lance Stroll's early crash in the Aston Martin.
"It's incredibly important, it's like a gold dust," Steiner's replacement Komatsu said.
"We've got the top five teams and then we are effectively competing for P10, one point, with so many other people, so everything has to be perfect."
Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24, Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24, Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"I'm so happy for the team, everyone's done their bit," Komatsu added. "Operationally, as a race team it was close to perfection."
When asked by Autosport if he was surprised at scoring points in race two after painting a pessimistic picture of the team's expectations at the launch, Komatsu replied: "It is a surprise, because we are the smallest team, so we've got to assume all the gains we are finding over the winter, everybody else has to be finding it at a minimum.
"At that point in pre-season, we hadn't addressed any of our race and tyre management issues.
"Of course, the car is better than last year, but then you can see the lap time delta changes depending on Bahrain, depending on circuit like this with much higher speeds.
"We knew here in qualifying our best would have been like P12, whereas in Bahrain we were in Q3. But in the race we had a strong car."
On Saturday Haas bounced back from costly operational mistakes in qualifying, with Hulkenberg coming to a halt in Q2 after a fuel calculation error while Magnussen crossed the line too late for his final attempt, putting the pair 15th and 13th on the grid respectively.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, leads Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB 01, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, and the remainder of the field at the start

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, leads Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB 01, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, and the remainder of the field at the start

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"We understood exactly what happened [in qualifying]," said Komatsu. "The good thing is that our team has transparency and honesty. Mistakes happen, we accept it.
"The action plan is in place, we don't hide anything, we don't bullshit anyone. I'm confident that we're never going to make the same mistakes again."
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