Magnussen leads McLaren’s charge with best qualifying since Australia

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Kevin Magnussen has secured his best qualifying result since the opening round of the 2014 Formula 1 season by finishing sixth today in Austria.

The Danish driver was the leading McLaren at the Red Bull Ring as experienced teammate Jenson Button dropped out in Q2 for the fourth time this season, qualifying 12th.

Magnussen was one of a number of drivers to benefit from Lewis Hamilton’s failure to post a time in Q3. The Briton made a mistake on both of his timed runs, meaning that he will start the race from ninth tomorrow.

“If everything had been perfect today, I think we could have been in the top five,” Magnussen explained. “I made a tiny mistake at the final corner on my final lap in Q3, but, even so, I’m happy enough with how things went today. And I think the whole team can feel satisfied, too: we’re definitely making progress, so we just need to keep it up now.”

The result is Magnussen’s best in qualifying since he finished fourth on Saturday in Australia. Since then, he has failed to reach the top ten on three occasions, and was deemed to have been suffering with ‘rookie syndrome’ by team boss Eric Boullier.

Now he has his mojo back, the Dane will be hoping to convert his good qualifying result into some solid points on Sunday.

Button, on the other hand, had a miserable Saturday. After a brake problem sidelined him in FP3, the 2009 world champion did not fare much better during qualifying.

“You never really know how much you lose from missing FP3, but it meant we were a little in the dark on set-up going into qualifying,” he explained. “Having said that, I think I could’ve made it into the top 10 if my last run in Q2 had worked out.”

McLaren has won the Austrian Grand Prix on six occasions, one more than any other team. Although its chances of adding to this tally tomorrow are incredibly slim, a good haul of points will certainly be the target.

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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