Magnussen always learning during his rookie season

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Kevin Magnussen has spoken about the big learning curve he has faced since entering Formula 1 at the beginning of the season.

The McLaren driver made his debut at the Australian Grand Prix, where he finished in second place after a faultless drive. However, he has failed to live up to the high expectations that followed this result, scoring just three points in the last five races.

“I think thinking back to Australia, it was a great result and a good weekend and a good memory, but if I compare where I am now to Australia, I know so much more now,” Magnussen explained. “What I’ve learned since Australia is massive, about the tires, about the car, about Formula 1 in general. I really feel that I as a driver have made progress.

“We as a team are moving forwards as well. it’s just very difficult when we are a long way behind. The progress we’re making is small compared to the gap that we have, but as long as we make progress, I think we’ll be alright.”

Magnussen’s relative inexperience was cited as a possible reason for McLaren’s recent poor form. He was thought to be unable of providing feedback that was on a par with that of veteran teammate Jenson Button, but the Dane thinks otherwise.

“Our feedback is never the same, it’s always different, which is good, because you get different inputs and different ideas,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m holding the team back in the development of the car. I feel that I’m contributing with good feedback, and I’m saying what I feel, and what I feel is right.

“I don’t hold back and feel shy, I open my mouth and as a young kid coming to F1, you need to be brave enough to tell your opinion and open your mouth. So whether it’s right or wrong, I’ll let them pick that out, and I feel that the best way to learn is to be open and to say what it is I think.

“They understand that I have very limited experience. They tell me what they think is right and wrong, and then they listen a lot as well, which is what I’m really proud of in the team. I’m proud of the team that they listen so much to me, and that they use my feedback even though I’m so inexperienced, and it gives me confidence too to open my mouth.”

Magnussen was on track to finish higher up the order in Monaco, but a run-in with Kimi Raikkonen meant that he could only finish in 10th place.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.