Kevin Magnussen came into the Chinese Grand Prix race weekend saying that he just wanted a quiet, uneventful time of it that would allow him to show the Renault team what he could do.
Instead his weekend in Shanghai got off the worst possible start, with a suspension failure in FP1 resulting in him having to sit out the whole of the day’s remaining track time. Then Saturday morning ended up soaking wet, meaning Magnussen had no opportunity to make up the lost ground in terms of dry running expected for the race itself.
In the circumstances, then, the prospect of starting tomorrow’s race from 17th place – two spots ahead of his rookie team mate Jolyon Palmer – was a pretty good recovery for the 23-year-old Dane in qualifying.
“Yeah, I’m quite happy with all that really given that I haven’t done any laps in the dry at all,” he said.
“I had two runs, the first run was difficult because that’s the first time you see and track and I’ve not driven the track in the dry all weekend.
“It was not easy. We could’ve been in Q2 if I had known the track a bit better because it was only two hundredths [from making it through],” he speculated.
Click Here: liverpool mens jersey
“There were a few places where we could’ve improved, but this is our level and we can’t be too disappointed.
“Braking points are difficult. One time in a split second and you’re too late, or one time in a split second you’re too early.
“I’m really happy I’m able to be on that level after not learning, you know I’ve had better performances and better laps but in terms of how well I did without knowing anything, I’m pretty happy.”
Even so, the biggest challenge for Magnussen after missing out on FP2’s long stint practice will be going into race day with so little data and hands-on experience.
“It’s a difficult one because I haven’t done the run in FP2 where you do the long run,” he said. “That means Renault hasn’t run the soft tyre at all so that will be a difficult choice. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll get it right, maybe we’ll get it wrong.”
Rosberg beats Ricciardo to pole as Hamilton falls in Q1
AS IT HAPPENED: Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying
Romain Grosjean column: A start beyond my craziest dream
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter