Kevin Magnussen put in a storming lap during Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix to finish fifth fastest, but a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change means he will start tenth on Sunday.
The Haas F1 Team racer admitted he did not know where that lap time came from but he was full of praise for his mechanics and engineers, and for those on Romain Grosjean’s side of the garage that assisted them, for the work they did to replace the gearbox ahead of Qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.
Unfortunately, the change gave him the grid penalty, but he was in good form throughout the three Qualifying sessions, making it through to the top ten (at the expense of Grosjean), and then set a time of 1:04.072, leaving him behind only pole sitter Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, and the two Mercedes AMG Motorsport drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“When it’s working, it’s working,” said Magnussen. “I don’t know where that lap came from. It was there, and I took it.
“Today the guys have just worked so hard between FP3 and qualifying to get the gearbox changed. It wasn’t only my side of the garage, the other side came to help on my car too, to help get it ready. We have a few guys out injured this weekend as well, but everybody just pulled it together.”
The Dane says it was nice to get this kind of result in Qualifying in Austria, particularly after the recent misery for the team. He has failed to score points in any of the past three Grand Prix in Monaco, Canada and France, with Magnussen having finished seventeenth in the last two races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Circuit Paul Ricard.
“After a few bad races, and a couple of bad qualifying’s, it’s nice to do this,” admitted the Dane. “We’re starting in the points, in the top ten, even with the penalty.
“If you’d asked us before qualifying if we’d have believed that, it would have been no way. I’m very happy.”