P7 the latest twist in Magnussen’s ‘crazy’ rollercoaster

Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

P7 the latest twist in Magnussen’s ‘crazy’ rollercoaster

Formula 1

P7 the latest twist in Magnussen’s ‘crazy’ rollercoaster

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Kevin Magnussen says the past few weeks have been the biggest emotional rollercoaster of his career, with the latest peak coming as he qualified seventh for Haas at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dane was recalled after Haas cut ties with Nikita Mazepin and title sponsor Uralkali, and enjoyed a productive end to pre-season testing as he got back up to speed in a Formula 1 car. In his first qualifying session in F1 since the end of the 2020 season, Magnussen advanced to Q3 despite a hydraulics issue, and he says it just added to the crazy ride he’s been on.

“It’s been a real rollercoaster the last couple of weeks,” said Magnussen, (pictured above celebrating after qualifying with team principal Guenther Steiner). “And everything that we went through in that two weeks to manage everything that had to be managed and actually get here and drive the car, get a good feeling and get some hope — we had a suspicion that it might be quite good.

“Then qualifying was another whole rollercoaster in itself with the problems that we had and not being able to run more than once in Q2 and Q3, not even knowing if we could get out again in Q3 and all that. So getting P7 for tomorrow’s race after all that is really, really cool.

“It’s so strange, all of this. I had a whole year — basically 15 months — trying to get used to the fact that Formula 1 wasn’t going to be part of my life anymore, and I kind of got to a good place with that. I was happy with the opportunity that I had in Formula 1 and was able to look back and be grateful and be happy about all that but still be excited about the future, having a kid and still being a racing driver.

“But then suddenly this happened, this opportunity with Haas, suddenly back again in Formula 1 — in this paddock with my little daughter — it’s so strange, all of it. And now back in Q3 and hoping for points tomorrow, it’s kind of crazy.”

Magnussen was just less than 0.6s behind fifth-placed Lewis Hamilton despite his own Q3 time being slower than his lap in Q2, and he believes he might have even gained further positions with a trouble-free qualifying session.

“You would think so. I mean, we did a 1m31.4s in Q2 in the first run, and we didn’t get two runs in Q2. So you should think there could be a little bit more in it…”

Magnussen admits his main worry is whether he can finish the race given the issues on Saturday, having been restricted to one run in the final two parts of qualifying and stopping on track after the checkered flag.

“It’s better that this happened in qualifying than in the race. I’d like it to happen in practice and then we could fix it, but reliability is certainly the biggest concern going into tomorrow’s race. It’s not so much pace, or balance, or tire wear, or strategy, it’s getting to the end. And if we get to the end then I’m sure we’ll be able to be in a strong position.”

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