Kevin Magnussen was full of praise for Haas after securing his and the team’s first-ever pole position at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil.
On a damp track with rain starting to fall again, Magnussen was first out of the pit lane in Q3 and duly set the fastest time at the start of the session before conditions got too wet for slicks. When George Russell slid into the gravel to trigger a red flag, it cemented Magnussen’s pole as the rain intensified, and after a competitive run throughout qualifying the Dane says the team played a massive role in the result.
“What a day,” Magnussen said. “What a performance by the team. We nailed it today — the guys in the garage and on the pit wall just nailed it getting me out on track as the first car — that was really the game changer today to get me the best piece of track. I’ve just got to thank them. And a great car as well, we were quick all the way through qualifying, so what a day.
“Actually, I was looking at the times after Q2 and I was thinking, ‘Maybe this could be the smallest margin to pole position in my career’ — and I was right!
“I didn’t dream about pole position — I had no idea we would be in contention. And of course, it’s only in conditions like this that you can make such a difference as a team to take all the right decisions and so on.”
Magnussen admits he was nervous waiting for the session to end despite the rain, as he ended the longest wait for a team to secure their first pole position in Formula 1 history, and third-longest for a driver.
“The team, we had perfect communication. We made the right calls in terms of managing risk and also going for a good position. So it was a great job by the team today.
“It just felt scary because there was still time left — eight minutes — and I couldn’t really see how much it had been raining when I got back in the garage. If the session restarts, is the track going to be good enough for people to improve? Because we know we’re not the fastest car, we just managed the situation the best out of all the cars. So I didn’t want anyone to go out there on dry tires again.
“I just didn’t want to jinx it — I was superstitious in the car thinking I can’t celebrate until it’s there.
“Last year I didn’t even know I was going to be here, so it’s incredible.”