Kevin Magnussen has created F1 Class B title battle in his mind

Kevin Magnussen is trying to win a Formula 1 Class B title he has created in his mind this season

Kevin Magnussen has created F1 Class B title battle in his mind

The Haas driver is eighth in the 2018 standings on 45 points, just seven behind Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

Sixth-placed Max Verstappen has more points than Magnussen and Hulkenberg combined thanks to the gulf in performance between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and the rest of the field, so Magnussen is focusing on the 'best of the rest' race and calculating alternative scores.

"I'm kind of creating this big championship in my head," Magnussen told Autosport.

"I know it doesn't exist, but in my head, it's something to motivate myself with.

"I've let go of those top three teams, I'm not worried about that, but we are in an even fight with the two or three other teams in the midfield and that fight is something that I really want to win."

Magnussen has been best-of-the-rest behind the big three teams on two occasions this season, finishing sixth in Spain and France.

He has beaten that result on-track, scoring fifth in Bahrain and Austria, but finished behind Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean in those races respectively.

Magnussen entered F1 in 2014 and scored a podium on his debut with McLaren, but has not won a race since the finale of his 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 title-winning season.

"I haven't had any kind of winning emotions for all the time that I've been in F1," he said.

"When I finished third but got second in Australia in my first race, I still didn't have those kind of winning emotions, it was just a third.

"Now I've been able to focus on this big championship that I have created in my mind and when I beat the other guys, I get the same emotions [as winning].

"I don't care about the big three teams, they're in a different league.

"When I get in front of all the midfield teams, I get those kinds of emotions and that's hugely motivating."

Magnussen is expected to extend his time with Haas, after joining from Renault on a two-year deal that is due to end this season.

He said: "What do you want if you're not in a top team, that can't fight for wins and championships?

"It's a stable team that gives you a good car, that can still fight for points and still fight for that Class B championship.

"I probably have the best car of the trailing teams. I couldn't ask for more."

F1's unofficial Class B fight

Formula 1's only official Class B recognition was the 1987 Jim Clark Trophy, which was contested by drivers who did not have turbocharged engines and won by Jonathan Palmer.

Autosport's statistical partner Forix has been recording Magnussen's fictional Class B battle all season.

Magnussen has taken two class wins this year, which puts him second to four-time victor Hulkenberg.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso, Toro Rosso driver Gasly, Magnussen's team-mate Grosjean and Force India pair Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon have also tasted Class B success.

F1's 'Class B' title race

Driver Team Points
1 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 169
2 Kevin Magnussen Haas 147
3 Carlos Sainz Jr Renault 133
4 Fernando Alonso McLaren 123
5 Esteban Ocon Force India 113
6 Sergio Perez Force India 106
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 89
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 74
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber 65
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 62
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 52
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 34
13 Lance Stroll Williams 33
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 9

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kevin Magnussen
Author Scott Mitchell
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