The difficulties of stepping into a new car and a new series with no testing produced a predictable outcome for former Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen.
The Dane, piloting Felix Rosenqvist’s No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet at the Road America NTT IndyCar Series round, did his best to deliver for the injured Swede, but ended up in P21, 1.6272s behind Colton Herta who led his group in the first round of knockout qualifying.
“There’s been a lot to learn — it’s very different than what I’m used to,” Magnussen said. “And there hasn’t been a lot of practice, so it’s been fast learning curve, steep learning curve and qualifying wasn’t quite happy. I didn’t put it together. I think I was too pumped to go and pull out a miracle and messed up my laps.
“This is still a great experience; long race tomorrow where we can pick up positions and I think I’ll learn a lot throughout the race. I’m looking forward to that.
Magnussen said he’s enjoying driving an Indy car, and despite starting towards the bottom of the 25-car field, his teammate Pato O’Ward — a pole and race winner last weekend — was also farther back than expected in P10.
“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “It’s not easy in the IndyCar weekends to step in; you get two sessions of 45 minutes and you don’t have a lot of tires either, even though as a rookie, you get another set. It’s very limited. Before qualifying, I had 18 laps in the car, so it’s tough.
“Qualifying, that should have been [better]. I wasn’t gonna be at the top, but you know, closer. It is what it is. Tomorrow’s going to be a fun day.”