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Kevin Magnussen Q&A: Option tyre pace key to McLaren hopes

31 Oct 2014

McLaren’s recent renaissance continued in Austin on Friday, with both drivers inside the top ten in both practice sessions. According to Kevin Magnussen, maintaining that momentum will be down to finding more speed from the softer Pirelli tyre…

Q: Kevin, it was a pretty interesting day from McLaren’s side. You were quite competitive in both practice sessions - but better in the morning than the afternoon. Which would you say was more representative of the car’s pace?

Kevin Magnussen: It is more a matter that we are stronger on the prime tyres than on the option and it will be interesting to see if we can improve that and find a bit more pace on the option tyres on Saturday morning.

Q: Does that mean that you expect to have a better race than qualifying?

KM: Well, our prime pace is good on low and high fuel, so we will concentrate on achieving the same on the options.

Q: The conditions were at times rather tricky, with a lot of chilly wind, and your team mate Jenson Button mentioned that he would love to have warmer and more stable conditions for the race. What’s on your wish list?

KM: Probably also less wind, as Formula One cars are very sensitive to wind. Yes, you felt the wind pretty much and had to keep an eye on which direction it was coming from. And yes, slightly higher temperatures would be welcome. But in the end you have to take it as it comes and make the best out of it.

Q: It was your first outing on this track - how do you like it?

KM: It’s a pretty good track with high-speed corners in the first sector, with a good first corner and an interesting uphill braking zone and then going flat in the mid corners. I do feel that overtaking should be possible here. So yes, a good race track. It will probably never develop into my favourite, but it definitely is one of the better ones.

Q: What’s your hope for qualifying then?

KM: As I said before, we will have to find better pace on the option tyres. We will go over the data this evening to see what and where we can squeeze out performance, but my guess is that it should be a track that should suit us. At least that is what I hope.

Q: How do you feel about the new virtual safety car? How does it work for the drivers?

KM: You get information on your dashboard showing a plus or a minus and then a number - which tells you if you are within the limits or going too quick. I think it is a good idea - and my impression is that it worked as it should.