Kevin Magnussen says he plans on being “clever” with the way he attacks the rest of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, despite feeling within touching distance of a win from fourth on the grid.
The Dane secured the best qualifying result for Haas in the team’s history with fourth place in Friday’s session, matching his own personal best and ensuring he will start Saturday’s Sprint from the second row. While he says that is a position that offers win potential if a car is quick enough, he says Haas has to remember its realistic position.
“I want to start in the good position for the Sunday race,” Magnussen said. “We’re in P4. In the dry, I don’t think we’re fast enough to be P4, but it’s a tricky track to overtake, so if I can get around the first lap in P4, that’s going to be super. If I lose a position or two after that, you know we still get points and a great position for Sunday. Of course I always want to finish higher than fourth, but we’ve also got to be realistic and clever.
“I feel like I want to push, I’m so close to the top now… You can win from P4! But we’re not fast enough to do that. We’re in a different battle — we’ve got to remember what we’re trying to do and benefit from this great result today in a clever way.”
Magnussen’s result came despite him spinning off in Q3 and causing a red flag, as he was able to recover back onto the track and rejoin the session when it restarted.
“I ran out of talent!” he joked afterwards. “I did (think qualifying was over). I touched the white line and then it was gone, and I thought I was going to hit the wall. I then went into the gravel and slowed down quite a lot so I realized — I saw the anti-stall, pulled the clutch while I was still backwards, and then went onto the throttle just enough to get onto that escape road. Yeah, lucky!
“I’m super pleased — it’s another unbelievable result for us. The car was just great, so fast and a joy to drive — so proud of the team.
“We were more competitive in the wet, we made the tires work better, but in the dry we got through to Q3 still in P7. They weren’t fantastic laps from my side and we were still dialing in the car, so it’s very positive. And it’s going to be dry tomorrow, it looks like. It’s not easy to overtake on this track so I’m hoping I can stay in the top eight and get some points.”