Kevin Magnussen has described scoring a podium finish on his F1 debut as “surreal” after taking the chequered flag for the Australian Grand Prix in third place.
However, the Danish driver has been promoted to the runner-up spot due to Daniel Ricciardo’s post-race exclusion, after his Red Bull RB10 was found to have continuously exceeded the maximum fuel flow limit. He has now become the most successful F1 rookie since Jacques Villeneuve’s arrival in 1996.
“It’s just fantastic to be on the podium,” he said. What happened today just feels surreal. Being on the podium in the first race of my Formula 1 career – it’s amazing.”
The 22-year-old almost found the wall at the start though. Describing the moment, he said: “It was quite scary – I got on the power a bit too quickly, and nearly lost it. But the car was fantastic today – I was always able to place it exactly where I wanted, and I had the pace to fight the Red Bull. I had a bit of a go at Daniel towards the ends of the race, but didn’t quite have the speed to get past.”
Jenson Button finished fourth on track but has now been moved up to third. He was pleased with the result and praised the McLaren team’s strategy. “It was a great drive by Kevin today – I had a lot of fun chasing him and Daniel down at the end of the race, but my tyres were several laps older than theirs, so it was always going to be tricky,” said the 34-year-old. “Still, I had a good race – the car’s balance wasn’t quite right when I was in traffic – I struggled with understeer when I was behind people – but the car worked very well in clear air.
“For some reason, it seems to be more difficult to overtake now than it used to be, so we had to do it during the pit stops. During my second stop, we damaged the nose – which made it a bit cooler in the cockpit – but the guys did a great job of putting me in the right place at the right time.
“When the Safety Car came out, I quickly dived into the pit lane at the last second – which gained me a couple of places. And then the second stop gained me a couple more. They were both great calls.”
McLaren now tops the constructors’ standings with 33 points, eight ahead of rivals Mercedes.
Image courtesy of McLaren Mercedes