Kevin Magnussen has immediately thrust himself into the Formula 1 spotlight with a sparkling performance during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix to secure fourth place on the grid.
The Dane, who is just the third rookie to make his debut for McLaren after Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton, managed to keep his cool in the wet conditions and produce a fine lap in Q3 to qualify fourth. Having finished in second place in Q1 and easily made it through Q2, Magnussen showed experience far beyond his 21 years, although he did admit to making a mistake on his final lap.
“Those were difficult conditions, especially as I’ve never driven this track in the wet,” he explained. “It was quite tricky to get the lines and the braking points right. It was much trickier than anything I’ve done before!
“But I don’t think I could have asked for any more today. I made a mistake and went off on my last lap, so I might have been able to go quicker, but I’m still happy. I’m proud of myself, but also proud of the whole team for doing such a massively good job of preparing me over the winter.”
However, Magnussen refused to get ahead of himself, knowing that the true challenge will come tomorrow in his maiden grand prix outing.
“The race is tomorrow and so are the points, so we need a good Sunday,” the Dane said. “I’ll try to enjoy tomorrow and do the best I can.”
Magnussen soundly outqualified veteran teammate Jenson Button, who failed to make it through to Q3 and will start the race from 10th place tomorrow (taking into account Valtteri Bottas’ grid drop). However, the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion must now finish the job and look to pick up a good haul of points on his Formula 1 debut tomorrow.