‘You can win from P4!’ says Magnussen, as he secures Haas’s best ever qualifying at Imola
An emotional rollercoaster for Haas in Q3 of qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw Kevin Magnussen cause a red flag but then produce an impressive recovery to stay in the fight and secure the team’s best-ever qualifying result of fourth.
Magnussen spun off at Acque Minerali in wet conditions in Q3, stopping his car just before the barrier but bringing out the red flags. Magnussen managed to drive his way out of the gravel to return to the garage and he duly set the fourth fastest time to secure Haas a spot on the second row for the first time.
“I ran out of talent!” Magnussen laughed. “I did [think qualifying was over]. I touched the white line and then it was gone, and I thought I was going to hit the wall. I then went into the gravel and slowed down quite a lot so I realised – I saw the anti-stall, pulled the clutch while I was still backwards, and then went onto the throttle just enough to get onto that escape road. Yeah, lucky!
“I’m super-pleased,” he added. “It's another unbelievable result for us. The car was just great, so fast and a joy to drive – so proud of the team.
“We were more competitive in the wet, we made the tyres work better, but in the dry we got through to Q3 still in P7. They weren’t fantastic laps from my side and we were still dialling in the car, so it’s very positive. And it’s going to be dry tomorrow it looks like. It’s not easy to overtake on this track so I’m hoping I can stay in the top eight and get some points.”
Haas have started fifth on seven occasions, but fourth is a new record for the team, and Magnussen is hopeful he can hold onto a strong starting position for the Grand Prix on Sunday as he predicts overtaking will be tough in the Sprint.
“I want to start in the good position for the Sunday race. We’re in P4. In the dry, I don't think we're fast enough to be P4, but it's a tricky track to overtake, so if I can get around the first lap in P4, that’s going to be super. If I lose a position or two after that, you know, we still get points and a great position for Sunday.
“Of course I always want to finish higher than fourth, but we’ve also got to be realistic and clever. I feel like I want to push, I’m so close to the top now… You can win from P4! But we’re not fast enough to do that. We’re in a different battle, we’ve got to remember what we’re trying to do and benefit from this great result today in a clever way.”
Mick Schumacher looked competitive throughout Friday but dropped out in Q2 after Carlos Sainz’s crash saw the session red flagged and rain fall that prevented any further improvements.
“A mistake at Turn 7 led to me losing over a second so I think we would’ve been through,” Schumacher said. “It’s a shame but now we have two more races to come and hopefully we’ll be able to fight our way through – the car feels great!
“Already in Melbourne we were able to fight pretty hard with the cars around us, and one thing which was very positive was that we were able to keep the tyres alive for quite a while. It’s all to play for tomorrow and hopefully we have a bit of luck on our side to be able to maybe get into the points.”
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