On a day where the rookies shined in the wet conditions none impressed more than McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen.
The 21-year-old, making the jump up to the Woking team as Formula Renault 3.5 champion, took everything in his stride in the mixed conditions eventually taking fourth on the grid for Sunday’s race, easily eclipsing his world champion team-mate Jenson Button.
“I’m really happy,” the Dane told the team in a press release.
“Those were difficult conditions, especially as I’ve never driven this track in the wet – it was quite tricky to get the lines and the braking points right. It was much trickier than anything I’ve ever done!"
Though Magnussen believes he could have been quicker – after making a mistake on his final run – he was equally pleased with how he adapted to the pressure of F1 qualifying.
“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.
“I always knew what was going on, and I knew the procedures, so it’s clear that they taught me really well,” he added.
After his success in the wet qualifying today, it is not surprising Magnussen is also hoping the weather will influence the race on Sunday.
“I’ll try to enjoy tomorrow and do the best I can,” he said, “getting onto the podium won’t be easy, especially if it’s dry.
“But if it’s wet, anything could happen – so I guess a wet grand prix is what I’ll be hoping for.”
Though not expected to be outright pace setters heading into the new season, McLaren’s Jenson Button wasn’t so pleased with his 11th on the grid though admitted Kimi Raikkonen’s crash on his final run had likely cost him a place in Q3.
“In the wet conditions, I think we had a very good chance of qualifying closer to the front, because our car isn’t quite so quick in the dry,” he said.
“Not getting into the top 10 was sheer bad luck – but, hopefully, I won’t be so unlucky tomorrow. I love this place, the car is working well, and, but for the yellow flags, we could have qualified much better than we did.”
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