Kevin Magnussen was happy to be back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car again on Friday, with the Dane surprising many in the paddock by setting the best time of the day at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Magnussen was only drafted into the Haas F1 Team earlier this week as a replacement for the released Nikita Mazepin, and he completed his first laps behind the wheel of the VF-22 on Friday afternoon.
With Haas allowed an additional hour on track after they were forced to miss the morning session on day one because of freight delays, Magnussen used that hour effectively, jumping from ninth in the standings to the very top, just over three-tenths of a second clear of Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
“It was so good to be back in a Formula 1 car and so good to be back with the team – I think it went really well,” said Magnussen, who completed sixty laps on Friday. “We had a good day of testing.
“I spent the first couple of runs getting back up to speed with a Formula 1 car but other than that it felt like I hadn’t been away. I could feel my neck at the end of it though – it kind of broke – but that’s expected.
“I’ll do another day tomorrow, break it even more, and then hopefully get in a little better shape for next week.”
Team-mate Mick Schumacher started the day in the VF-22, but the German lost an hour of running due to an oil leak. He hopes the final day of pre-season testing on Saturday will give him the chance to add significant mileage to the car before next weekend’s opening round of the season at the same venue.
“There were a few things unfortunately that meant we didn’t get to drive as much as we wanted to,” said Schumacher. “Nonetheless, we learned more which is always positive and I have over 100 laps now in this new car.
“I’m hoping for a few more tomorrow but we’re in a good way where we’re learning about the car better and now it’s just about reliability. Everyone in the team is looking forward to racing now.”
“It’s been a better day today” – Guenther Steiner
Team Principal Guenther Steiner felt it was a better day for the team on Friday, although he feels the team are still behind where they need to be at this stage of testing.
Steiner was pleased the team were able to complete eighty-three laps on day two of the test, but he jokingly said he wished there were still three more days to go rather than just the one.
“It’s been a better day today,” said Steiner. “It started with a few problems in the morning for Mick and we didn’t get the running we wanted but I think it was worthwhile going through it, even just to get some of the gremlins out of the car.
“In the afternoon, we got out a little bit late because we needed to fix the car and it was quite a good session for Kevin. We ran an hour longer than everybody else because we lost the time on the first day but overall, we’re going in the right direction.
“Unfortunately, we just have one day left, I wish we had three.”