Kevin Magnussen felt qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix went better than expected, and will start the race from twelfth on the grid once Fernando Alonso takes his grid penalty.
The Haas F1 Team racer had expected to struggle to get out of the first segment of qualifying but not only did he achieve that, he managed to set the thirteenth fastest time in the second segment, finishing ahead of Jolyon Palmer and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Magnussen hopes to be able to move forward on race day to break into the top ten and into the points, something he has not managed to achieve since finishing seventh in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June.
“We have been stronger this weekend,” said Magnussen. “The car, right away on Friday, felt better, more alive. That’s partly due to the track temperatures being down, so the tyres are working a bit better, or at least it’s easier to make them work without overheating them.
“If you’re behind on downforce or grip, they don’t overheat as much when it’s cold, like it is here. That’s pushed us a little bit closer to the midfield. We expected to be P16, P17 in qualifying, and I’m P13, to eventually become P12 for tomorrow. So, I can’t be too unhappy with that.
“When it’s close like that though, you’d like that last bit, so it’s a bit frustrating not to get there. We’re still close to the points tomorrow. We’ll see if we can get in and score a few.”