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Kevin Magnussen Q&A: McLaren's poor pace a mystery

19 Apr 2014

Following the race in Bahrain, Jenson Button said that McLaren could legitimately claim to be the second-quickest team after Mercedes. The Woking team have found the going tough in China however, and in qualifying on Saturday Button could only manage 12th on the grid, while Kevin Magnussen was even further back in 15th. After the session, Magnussen spoke to reporters about a difficult day in Shanghai…

Q: Kevin, the conditions were pretty tough today. Are you disappointed that it didn’t go any better for you?

Kevin Magnussen: Yes, indeed, I’m pretty disappointed. P15 was not on my agenda for sure. So now the only thing that will work is to look forward - to the race - and try to improve in positions then.

Q: The fact is that Jenson (Button) also didn’t make it into Q3 - so it wasn’t just the rookie in the team…

KM: …yes, true. And I have no idea why this is so. Clearly we are not fast enough.

Q: But is it as simple as that, or have you been struggling with certain issues?

KM: To be honest I am perplexed myself. One thing is for sure: we are not fast enough so now we have to analyse the data to find out the reason for that. My impression is that we didn’t get the maximum out of the car, but it is hard to nail it down to one particular issue. But one thing has been clear this afternoon: if we don’t get the maximum out of our car, we are where we are right now - and that’s pretty unsatisfying.

Q: Has the team taken a wrong turn?

KM: No, I don’t think that is the case. Actually we are going forward so it must be something that we didn’t get right today. Maybe it was that we haven’t been able to find the right window for the tyres - we have to sit down and analyse. If I have to describe the situation with one phrase it would be ‘lacking grip’. Now we have to find out why.

Q: Were the wet conditions part of your calamities? Do you hope for dry conditions for the race?

KM: To be honest I don’t know what I should be hoping for, as strange as this may sound. So far this season we have been good in wet and dry conditions, so today was hopefully a real one-off.

Q: Is there any hope that the team will be able to sort things out for tomorrow?

KM: Even if I repeat myself, I don’t know what the real issues of that massive lack of performance were. All I know is that we are better than P15. That is for sure. We didn’t get something right and now we have to find what it was. Probably that is not something that can be fixed overnight - the cars have probably become too complicated for that. But of course the hope is there that we will do much better tomorrow in the race.

Q: It’s a far cry from your podium in Australia…

KM: …indeed it is. But be sure that we have a strategy - probably not a podium, but also not P15, that is for sure.

Q: So if you could make a wish for tomorrow: dry or wet?

KM: If I give it a second thought I would probably opt for dry. I don’t know if it would be better for the car, but racing in the dry is more welcome for me as a driver.

Q: It was the first time in your young F1 career that you didn’t make it into Q3. How are you dealing with that?

KM: Yes, so right now I am trying to make myself happy with the previous races - and hope for a surprise race tomorrow!