The words fairy tale inevitably pop up when reviewing Kevin Magnussen’s grand prix debut in Australia as the rookie justified McLaren’s faith in him by claiming third place, a Formula 1 podium spot for the first time, not only for him but for any Danish race driver after a remarkably mature drive in Melbourne. He spoke after his great afternoon.
First Dane on a Formula One podium….
Kevin Magnussen: It’s hard to believe really. It just seems so unreal. What can I say. The car was so much better than it’s been at any point. We just keep improving the car. I had just exactly what I need the whole race. The preparation we’ve done this winter has been fantastic. I’ve never done a Formula One race and testing is so limited, so big congratulations to the team for doing such a good job.
Well, your father is racing on the other side of the world this weekend as well, so he’s got something to live up to.
KM: I think they did the race already, so I’ll need to see how it went. I wish he could have been here. It’s a great day.
No podium for McLaren in 2013. You go on the podium in your first appearance in Formula One. You were pinching yourself in the press conference here on Thursday to be in the company of world champions and race winners and stars. You’re a star yourself today.
KM: Yeah. Nico [Rosberg] was just saying, ‘Mate, you’re on third!’ I can’t believe it. It’s not a win but it definitely feels like a bit of a win because, as you said, the team is coming off a difficult season and they really wanted to come back and they’ve worked so hard over the winter. And working with a rookie as well who hasn’t got experience. It’s been tough for them, for sure – but they’ve done such a good job, made me feel really at home and made me feel comfortable with everything. Yeah, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Just talk us through the final stint because you started closing up quite a bit on Dan, then you started pulling back a bit, then it was a bit erratic.
KM: I think me and Dan [Ricciardo] had pretty similar pace but obviously you can do stuff with the engine to try and push for a few laps and then you have to back off because you have to harvest the energy again. And you’re fuel saving as well and then stop for a few laps and then you begin again and you have to do more and catch that up. I guess it makes it exciting from the outside because it creates opportunities for overtaking but it just wasn’t enough today. I didn’t have enough pace to get past Dan.
Can you say if you had any problems with your car today?
KM: If I had a problem? No, no issues with the car that we weren’t expecting. We didn’t really know what to expect but luckily we didn’t have anything really that came up that we couldn’t handle so again, big congratulations to the team and to Mercedes for providing such a reliable power unit. It’s quite impressive in the first year.
How about the fuel, was that ever a concern?
KM: No, I probably saved a bit too much in the beginning which turned out to be alright because then I could give Daniel a little bit of pressure at the end and I didn’t have to save fuel so much which was good. It’s something I will certainly learn more about and get into a rhythm with.
McLaren is leading the Constructors championship, do you think you can hang on there with a rookie and a champion driver together?
KM: Yeah, who knows? We will certainly try our best. I know the team is massively motivated to stay on top and they are a team that should be at the top of Formula One. So, what can I say? I’ll do my best and they will do their best. Who knows?
So, you’re looking forward to the next one obviously?
KM: Yes I am – great things ahead.
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