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Steiner: The midfield is gruelling… but fantastic

NEWS STORY
06/09/2017

While the intriguing battle between Mercedes and Ferrari gets the headlines, with Red Bull and Force India assured of third and fourth it is the battle for fifth that is providing much of the real entertainment.

While those 10 points earned by Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa at Monza at the weekend give Williams a little breathing space, the fact is that the four teams squabbling for fifth are covered by just 21 points.

Courtesy of a strong result in Belgium, Haas now has more points than it won in the whole of its maiden season, but team boss Guenther Steiner wants more.

"The second half of last year was disastrous in terms of points," he tells the official F1 site. "And before this year's summer break we had exactly the same amount of points we had at the same time last year and we had to get the monkey off our backs somehow, and in Spa we did!

"Now we want to keep the momentum... points, points, points!" he continues. "We want to keep the position and try to better it if possible. But there is also always the chance to lose the position... the midfield is gruelling.

His team is currently 7th in the standings, 5 points behind Toro Rosso, which is 15 down on Williams, and one ahead of Renault.

"If you take the pure number six, it seems nothing," he says. "But one point behind - where Renault sit now - is even less!

"This 'three pack' in the standings is so competitive. I would consider finishing in P7 - where we are now - quite reasonable, given the fact how competitive this segment is. Yes, we might do a race and gain some points and jump ahead, but then Renault only needs to score two points and they are ahead of us again. As challenging as it is though, I find this midfield very interesting... in fact it is fantastic."

Asked, of his main rivals, which is the "easy prey", he admits: "There is no 'easy prey'!

"Who would have ever thought that Williams would be behind us in Spa?" he adds. "That should have been their track, as it is a high-speed track. We had no problems keeping them behind us and I am sure they will think 'How did that happen?' But then Monza was a completely new ball game! So everything is open and nothing is written down in the books."

Asked to look into his crystal ball, the Italian says: "Right now I cannot predict anything. Think what I just said about Budapest and Spa, where the teams that were supposed to do well didn't, but others unexpectedly did.

"But it is not only about us, we have to see us in the context of the others. When you look at how close the midfield, is one or two-tenths faster in a race can make you fifth. It is fantastic for the fans, but difficult to adjust to for a team."

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