Grosjean complacent without Magnussen: Steiner

Romain Grosjean had an upper hand throughout the year over his fellow driver Esteban Gutierrez during Haas’ first F1 season but the story is not the same this year.

His new teammate Kevin Magnussen is posing a challenge to Grosjean to be a better driver according to Haas team principal Gunther Steiner.

So how did Grosjean respond to Magnussen’s arrival?

Steiner says “He reacted well. I think he took it down as a challenge.

“Maybe at the beginning, he was maybe out of his comfort zone but I think they get the best when they are just a little bit out of their comfort zone because when you are in the comfort zone you stagnate.

“You get complacent. It’s very easy to get complacent if you’re not challenged. Especially in any business or sport where the performance level is high.

“You need always to get a little bit pushed because otherwise if you’re too comfortable it’s always too easy.”

Before joining Haas, Grosjean teamed up with Fernando Alonso when driving for  Renault as a rookie driver in 2009. He partnered with Kimi Raikkonen and later  Pastor Maldonado racing for  Lotus.

Grosjean believes  Magnussen is underrated. He is happy with the relationship and calls it the best one he has had in the racing tracks.

“I’ve got a really good relationship with him, it almost surprised me,” Grosjean told Motorsport. “Teammates are always in a war but we’ve both grown up and we both respect each other a lot.

“I think he’s underrated. He’s super-fast. He can do very well when the car is not suiting him, he doesn’t really mind.

“I’ll say I learned more from Kimi in how to set-up a car and the way to approach a weekend but I think Kevin in the other aspect is the best.

“In the other categories, younger categories, every teammate I just wanted to kill them. I just wanted to be the best.

“Even when you are in Formula 1 you have Kimi and you are like ‘I want to beat him because he is the benchmark’. But now I think we have two benchmarks and this is fine.

“If he’s faster, great I need to improve, and if I’m faster, great, I have had a good day.”

Grosjean accepts Steiner’s thought that Magnussen brings in much-needed pressure to improve.

“I think it’s very important for a team to get two very fast drivers,” said Grosjean. “Whenever you’ve got one driver faster than the other one, the fast one gets slower and kind of has an easy life.

“Whereas when you’ve got two drivers pushing hard, as you can see at Mercedes with [Valtteri] Bottas pushing Lewis [Hamilton], it’s great.

“For Lewis, it gets hard sometimes because he’s had to raise his game and in other teams, that’s just not the case.”

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