SAO PAULO — Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen shocked Formula One in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying on Friday to start the sprint race at Interlagos in pole position.
It was the first ever pole for the 30-year-old Danish driver, who celebrated by making faces at the cameras before the third qualifying session was over. Then he jumped on his car and punched the air in the drizzle. He gave his Haas team boss Guenther Steiner an emotional hug.
“The team put me out on track exactly at the right moment,” said an exultant Magnussen, who also delivered the first F1 pole for Denmark.
Asked whether he expected to get such a result, he replied: “Not even close. It is incredible.”
The moment it all became real! 😁#HaasF1 #BrazilGP pic.twitter.com/86aBs12UWH
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 11, 2022
Magnussen started in F1 in 2014 and returned to the series this year after a one-year absence as the replacement for Russian driver Nikita Mazepin.
In the interim, Magnussen had driven full time for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and also made his debut in the NTT IndyCar Series.
On team radio, Magnussen was even more excited: “I never felt like this in my life,” he said.
One INDYCAR start.
One Formula 1 pole.
Congrats, K-Mag. https://t.co/SHYR7Vrjra
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) November 11, 2022
Meanwhile, Haas teammate Mick Schumacher, who is still seeking a seat for the next season, finished in 20th and last place.
Steiner said on Thursday he has yet to decide whether Schumacher will race for the team next year, adding he hopes a decision will be made next week. Schumacher has earned only 12 points this season. Magnussen has 24.
Magnussen was almost five seconds faster than Schumacher. World champion Max Verstappen was second by almost two-tenths of a second. Mercedes’ George Russell was third.
Qualifying was delayed by rain, which helped Magnussen. The last five minutes of the session were severely affected by the wet track.
Haas spoke about Magnussen’s pole position with a touch of disbelief: “What did we just do?” the team posed on Twitter.
Friday’s results set the grid for Saturday’s sprint race, which will determine the starting positions for Sunday’s race at Interlagos.