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Kevin Magnussen Q&A: FRIC removal to McLaren's advantage

19 Jul 2014

Kevin Magnussen appears to be in very good place in Hockenheim this weekend. While world champion team mate Jenson Button seems to be struggling with the latest changes to the McLaren, Magnussen has been using them to his advantage, scoring an impressive fourth place on the grid (to Button’s 11th) for Sunday’s German race. So why the difference?

Q: Kevin, it was a quite fantastic qualifying afternoon for you here in Germany. Were the foundations for this laid in the Silverstone test last week?

Kevin Magnussen: Ha, yes it was a fine afternoon. We got it right with every single move. The guys on the pit wall and in the garage did an amazing job. And to be honest, I like to drive on these softer tyres as you have more grip. So it was a pretty cool Saturday afternoon and I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s race. Right now I am pretty happy. (laughs)

Q: What made the difference?

KM: Hard work. It’s not the best car out there, so we had to compensate for that with hard work. And we’ve succeeded. At least with my car.

Q: What will be key tomorrow?

KM: To be honest, I don’t expect to finish fourth tomorrow, but right now I am super happy with this qualifying result. It’s a cool thing to start from P4, isn’t it? In the end I think we will be fighting with the two Red Bulls and my guess is that we are not pretty far off their pace.

Q: Your team mate said that he is pretty confused about the direction the car is going in. You don’t seem to be confused at all…

KM: Right, no confusion at all. Today I was able to push like in the good old go-kart days - and that gives me a lot of confidence.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk was about the removal of FRIC. Has that helped you - or did your upward trend come from the updates McLaren have brought? And where do you understand the other teams to be?

KM: Personally I feel that the removal of FRIC is to our advantage - and yes, the updates that we’ve brought also play a significant role in our qualifying performance - but I have no idea where the other teams are. Some teams have built their cars around it so the ones that have done that will probably struggle more than others. But in the end there is not really an exchange in knowhow in the paddock among teams! (laughs)

Q: What was the most challenging thing for you so far?

KM: The tyres. In these temperatures it is really difficult to handle them in a way to make them last. Furthermore the conditions shall change significantly tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what we can do in the race with today’s findings.

Q: So far the McLarens have been better in qualifying - that single fast lap - than over a race distance. Will that also be the case here?

KM: Yep, race distance has been a bit of an issue, but from what we’ve seen on Friday we are catching up in this respect. And with today’s qualifying it seems that overall we’ve made a big step forward, so let’s see if we have learned enough to carry it through a whole race distance. In fact we’ve been growing stronger over the past two races and with the right strategy there should be another upward trend. We are hoping for a good result tomorrow.