First Haas Q3 appearance since 2019 ‘all we could have hoped for’ says Magnussen after F1 return
Kevin Magnussen was stunned on Saturday night after he qualified a sensational seventh for the Bahrain Grand Prix, having only made his return to Haas and Formula 1 a week before this opening weekend.
The Danish driver was drafted in at Haas in place of Nikita Mazepin and stepped into the car on the second day of the Official Pre-Season Test. Eight days later, he took Haas to their first Q3 appearance since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.
“It’s crazy," said Magnussen. "I mean, this is all we could have ever hoped for. I don’t know. I’m speechless. It’s crazy.
“The last couple of weeks have just been insane and getting here, learning about the car, seeing that it maybe it’s a pretty good one, but still not really knowing, being so anxious about this qualifying to really see how good it is, and then just finding out that it’s really good – crazy.”
Still buzzing with adrenaline after clinching P7, Magnussen was almost ruled out of Q2 with a suspected hydraulics problem and was amazed to only need one run on soft tyres to make it to the top 10 shootout – and only one run in Q3 to make it to P7 on the grid for Sunday’s race.
“I got through to Q3 on one set of tyres in Q2 – I only ran one set – and I don’t know, I think it was P4 or P5 or something after the first round, and then I ended up getting through in P7," he said.
“Then, you know, we had some issue that they needed more time to fix it and I only got that one run again in Q3 – and then still got P7. So it’s just so, so cool. I don’t know. I’m just looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get started."
Not only did Magnussen qualify seventh, he out-qualified the Mercedes of George Russell and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in the process – the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin missing out on Q3 altogether.
With his team mate Mick Schumacher 12th on the grid for the Grand Prix, their Team Principal Guenther Steiner was over the moon.
“It was another exciting day for us again,” added Steiner. “We had a very good result; qualifying P7 and P12 is something we dreamt of at the end of last season and the beginning of this year.
“Now we’ve done it, but I think there is more to come from us this year."
On Sunday, the American team will be targeting their first F1 point since the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix.
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