Kevin Magnussen survived an off-track moment that saw him cause a red flag to take an excellent fourth place on the grid for the Sprint race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Friday afternoon.
Magnussen spun at turn twelve early in Q3, giving his Haas F1 Team mechanics a moment of fear, but he was able to get back on track and return to the pits, the session having been red flagged as a result of the spin.
When the session resumed, Magnussen was able to put his VF-22 onto the second row of the grid, the best Qualifying performance ever for Haas, and he feels it puts him in a good position for the rest of the weekend as he looks to score points for a third time in four events.
“First of all, what a result,” said Magnussen. “It’s great, it feels amazing, I can’t really believe it – it’s that close to top-three.
“P4 is the best qualifying for Haas ever, so I’m really proud of that and the team. I went off, lost the car and went all the way through the gravel. I managed to just keep it going and do a bit of a four-point turn and get back on track.
“The car was just phenomenal, and I can’t believe we’re fourth.”
With weather conditions at Imola likely to be much drier on Saturday than they were throughout Qualifying, Magnussen says he will be doing everything he can to keep himself in contention for points.
“It’s looking like it’s going to be dry tomorrow so we’ll just do the best we can, I don’t know what to expect,” the Dane added.
“We’ll go and have fun and give it everything we’ve got like we did today.”
“A mistake at Turn 7 led to me losing over a second” – Mick Schumacher
Team-mate Mick Schumacher believed he had the pace to join Magnussen inside the top ten, but a mistake at turn seven on his one and only attempt cost him dearly, leaving him down in twelfth.
The German felt the pace was there to reach Q3 for the first time in his Formula 1 career, but that wait must continue for at least another race weekend, although he has high hopes of moving up the order during Saturday’s Sprint race and Sunday’s full-length Grand Prix.
“A mistake at Turn 7 led to me losing over a second so I think we would’ve been through,” said Schumacher. “It’s a shame but now we have two more races to come and hopefully we’ll be able to fight our way through – the car feels great.
“Already in Melbourne we were able to fight pretty hard with the cars around us and one thing which was very positive was that we were able to keep the tyres alive for quite a while.
“It’s all to play for tomorrow and hopefully we have a bit of luck on our side to be able to maybe get into the points.”