A star is born as Magnussen finishes 3rd on F1 debut

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Kevin Magnussen has made an incredible start to his Formula 1 career by finishing in third place on debut at today’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Danish driver, son of ex-F1 driver Jan, made his first start in the sport at Albert Park today after qualifying an excellent fourth during qualifying yesterday. However, he proved that his Saturday pace was by no means a one-off as he easily passed Lewis Hamilton on lap one for third place before producing a fine drive to keep his cool and finish in that position.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Magnussen seemed somewhat dazed by the enormity of what he had just achieved.

“It’s hard to believe really,” he said. “It just seems so surreal. What can I say? The car was so much better than it has been at any point, we just keep improving the car. I just had exactly what I needed the whole race.”

The Dane paid testament to the preparation work that he and McLaren had completed across the course of the winter, with the team putting him through a tough programme in order to prepare him for his Formula 1 debut.

“The preparation we’ve done this winter has been fantastic. I’ve never done a Formula 1 race and testing is so limited these days, so big congratulations to the team for doing such a good job.”

Magnussen did wish that his father could have been present to see him on the podium, but he was racing himself at Sebring in the 12 hour race.

“They did the race already so I need to see how it went,” Kevin said. “I wish he could have been here. It’s a great day.”

However, a picture tweeted out showing Jan in tears shows that he was watching the race, and clearly was elated with his son’s performance.

On debut, Magnussen has justified McLaren’s decision to sack Sergio Perez after just one year with a fine display. Just as Lewis Hamilton did on his McLaren debut in 2007, Magnussen started fourth and finished 3rd, and he will be hoping to continue this good form at the Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.