Boullier hails Magnussen's 'cool head'

Thursday 27-March-2014 06:06

Although by no means taking anything away from Lewis Hamilton's debut podium, Eric Boullier believes Kevin Magnussen's was even more impressive.

Making his debut with McLaren back in 2007, Hamilton finished third at the Australian Grand Prix.

Seven years later McLaren again have a rookie in the car and like Hamilton, Magnussen also achieved a top-three result on his debut, an unexpected result with the F1 bookmakers.

But, what Boullier reckons sets the Dane's apart from Hamilton's, is that Magnussen achieved his after just three days in the car whereas Hamilton had many miles under his belt.

"He's a bit quiet, like many Nordic drivers, but he has a strong mentality and he is breathing in McLaren," the McLaren racing director said to Press Association Sport.

"He has chosen to live in Woking, and every opportunity he gets he is in the factory.

"In Australia he didn't put a foot wrong, keeping his head down away from the pressure.

"Yes, we supported and protected him a lot, but he did very well as his was pace good, his management of the tyres and fuel very good.

"For me his best quality is he has a cool head. Can you imagine being 21, with McLaren, and in in your first race weekend getting a podium?

"I know Lewis did it (in 2007) but let's compare. This kid had just three days of testing in his entire life before being given the drive - Lewis did 30,000 miles!

"Let me make clear that is far from discrediting Lewis in any way.

"But to come into your first F1 race weekend these days when you are only 21 and after only a handful of days in an F1 car, there is a big difference."

The Australian GP eventually became a double podium for McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo's DSQ elevated Magnussen to second and Jenson Button to third.

It was a much-welcomed result for the team which last season failed to achieve even a single podium finish.

However, Boullier concedes more work is needed before McLaren, who are in the mix according to Paddy Power, can get involved in the fight for this year's titles.

"There may be bad years, but when a team is good it can recover from its own mistakes," added the Frenchman.

"At the moment it's obvious we are not in a position to win the Championship, or certainly dominate it.

"But the team has reacted well after what happened last season, and clearly put in place some sensible targets, such as making the car reliable, which is obviously a challenge.

"In the end everything went well (in Australia). The understanding of the car was good enough to build the strategy and to either save tyres or fuel.

"And when you can have two drivers who can also deliver on track then you obtain the result we saw in Australia."

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