Kevin Magnussen believes the mistakes long-time team-mate Romain Grosjean made over the years overshadowed his one-lap pace.
Magnussen and Grosjean have been team-mates at Haas since the start of the 2017 season, but Magnussen now prepares for his final race with the team and in Formula 1 for the foreseeable future at the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sadly Grosjean has already bowed out of Formula 1 after his horrifying crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Grosjean had been on the Formula 1 grid every year since 2012, but over the years he became well known for several high-profile mistakes.
And Magnussen believes they have overshadowed the “phenomenal” one-lap pace that the Frenchman possess, such pace that means he is in on a whole other level.
“What I experienced with Romain is an incredibly fast driver on one lap. Not that he’s not quick in the race, he’s super quick in the race as well, but especially in one lap he is something special,” Magnussen told reporters ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“I think having him as a benchmark, especially in qualifying, has really made me a better qualifier. You seriously need to get it right to beat Romain in qualifying.
“It’s hard to imagine that anyone can be much quicker than him, because on his day he is phenomenal on one lap.
“Formula 1 is funny because I think Romain has made some mistakes in the last few years that have gained a lot of attention and kind of taken away from him some of the credit he should have been given for his abilities in the car.
“Because I think my personal feeling is that there’s not a lot of people that can be faster than him on one lap.”
The best spell of Grosjean’s career came at Lotus from 2012-13 alongside Kimi Raikkonen. Across those two seasons he finished on the podium nine times, including a spell of four podiums in five races in 2013.
Raikkonen said that his then team-mate was fast at the time, but his driving was a bit “all over the place”.
“He had a lot of speed when we raced each other or were team-mates on one lap and I think in the race he could be very good,” Raikkonen explained.
“But often in those days he was a bit all over the place too often.
“As for speed, for sure he had it. I think everybody’s happy to see that he got out of the bad situation more or less OK and I’m sure it would have been much nicer for him to finish his F1 [career] in a different way but that’s how it unfortunately turned out to be.
“The good thing is that he’s OK and that’s the only thing that matters.”