Kevin Magnussen: Maximum attack…let’s go for something funny

Michelle Foster
Kevin Magnussen, Guenther Steiner, Haas, celebrate shock pole position. Brazil, November 2022.

Securing pole position for the first time in his F1 career, Kevin Magnussen now wants to pull off “something funny” in the sprint at the Interlagos circuit.

Magnussen was in prime position at the start of Q3 for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix sprint weekend, the Dane at the very front of the queue in the pit lane.

He had the best of the track conditions, putting in a 1:11.674 on slick tyres while those further behind got some rain.

He qualified two tenths of a second ahead of Max Verstappen to take his first ever pole position in his 141st grand prix weekend.

It is the latest high point in a career that has been a roller-coaster ride and began with a podium on his debut, a feat he has never been able to repeat.

Bouncing from a race seat at McLaren to a reserve driver role, a year with Renault and four with Haas before being dropped by the team only to be recalled after a year out, the 30-year-old admits it has been an emotional ride.

So he will take the fun when he can get it, as he did on Friday evening.

“In this sport, I do go up and down,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s a lot of fun on days like this, that’s for sure.

“I didn’t know what to expect back then (in 2014). I came in as this arrogant little kid thinking I was the king of the world.

“I had a lot of lessons after that, showing how difficult it actually is in this sport.

“Now I’m on pole position, so I’ll just enjoy [it].

“I’ve just got to enjoy this moment until Saturday, lining up on pole position. Seeing my little white Haas car there on pole position will be a lot of fun.

“I still can’t really believe it.”

As for his strategy for the sprint, it’s simple: “Maximum attack…let’s go for something funny.”

Luck had nothing to do with pole, says Steiner

His team boss Guenther Steiner has been quick to deny luck played any part in Magnussen’s pole, the Italian saying it was down to hard work.

Although Magnussen benefited from Haas’ positioning in the pit lane, he still had to do the job.

And he did it much to Steiner’s enjoyment.

“This is the sort of thing you are scared to dream about,” the team boss told Sky Sports. “The whole team have been trying hard for seven years. Circumstances let us pull this one off.

“It was not luck, it was well deserved from the driver and from the team, being on the right tyres at the right time and Kevin putting a lap down when it was needed.

“He was first out, you could say he had an advantage but also he had a disadvantage as he had nobody to gauge things from, he was on his own.

“Kevin deserves a lot. The whole team deserve this and he’s part of the team.

“We always work hard, we never give up and we keep fighting.”

Read more: Winners and losers from Sao Paulo Grand Prix qualifying