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A star is born as Magnussen finishes 3rd on F1 debut

Mar 16, 2014, 5:00 AM EDT

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

Kevin Magnussen has made an incredible start to his Formula 1 career by finishing in third place on debut at today’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Danish driver, son of ex-F1 driver Jan, made his first start in the sport at Albert Park today after qualifying an excellent fourth during qualifying yesterday. However, he proved that his Saturday pace was by no means a one-off as he easily passed Lewis Hamilton on lap one for third place before producing a fine drive to keep his cool and finish in that position.

Speaking on the podium after the race, Magnussen seemed somewhat dazed by the enormity of what he had just achieved.

“It’s hard to believe really,” he said. “It just seems so surreal. What can I say? The car was so much better than it has been at any point, we just keep improving the car. I just had exactly what I needed the whole race.”

The Dane paid testament to the preparation work that he and McLaren had completed across the course of the winter, with the team putting him through a tough programme in order to prepare him for his Formula 1 debut.

“The preparation we’ve done this winter has been fantastic. I’ve never done a Formula 1 race and testing is so limited these days, so big congratulations to the team for doing such a good job.”

Magnussen did wish that his father could have been present to see him on the podium, but he was racing himself at Sebring in the 12 hour race.

“They did the race already so I need to see how it went,” Kevin said. “I wish he could have been here. It’s a great day.”

However, a picture tweeted out showing Jan in tears shows that he was watching the race, and clearly was elated with his son’s performance.

On debut, Magnussen has justified McLaren’s decision to sack Sergio Perez after just one year with a fine display. Just as Lewis Hamilton did on his McLaren debut in 2007, Magnussen started fourth and finished 3rd, and he will be hoping to continue this good form at the Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

  1. testover6370 - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I take back all my criticism of this kid. Wow. Can’t understand why the other teams turned him down. Well he deserves that McLaren seat. Still wish they kept Perez though, maybe ditch Button instead. I like him a lot too but McLaren could have had two brilliant rising stars.

    • tobimobiv1 - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:21 AM

      Why where you skeptic of him. His 3.5 season last year and his young drivers tests have shown nothing but great speed and skills to give feedback on the car and put a championship winning season together. But of course I might be a little bit biased by his nationality. Hehe

      • testover6370 - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        No doubt a champion from the feeder series should go on to F1 but usually it isn’t with a front-running team. That puts a lot of pressure. Yet all of the other mid-pack teams that McLaren offered him out to for development, including Force India, which has a demonstrated willingness to overlook a driver’s lack of funding in favor of talent, turned him down. So McLaren sacked Perez, who I felt did as good a job as could be expected with last year’s car and outperformed Button by a good margin in the second half of the season. Then FI, again taking talent over funding picked up Perez and the Hulk. Just seemed a big risk to me, ditching a young but experienced and proven fast driver for a driver that is also fast, but without any F1 experience. Testing pace and feeder series pace is one thing, but performance in actual race conditions is something else and that’s something a season with a midpack team will usually sort out. McLaren’s gamble worked, but it was a gamble.

  2. worknman24hours - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I’m going to call Kevin Magnussen, the Grim Creeper because he kept creeping up on Riccardo the entire last part of that race.

    It was an awesome performance the likes we haven’t seen in years.

    Nice to see F1 has the excitement back again.

    Great race, Kevin!

  3. pwbeninate - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    He did a great job to keep his head when he lost the rear at the start. He listened to his engineer on fuel consumption. Drove well behind Ricciardo and didn’t try anything stupid. Very mature driver.

  4. tobimobiv1 - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    I know how it works testeover. But I also know that if McLaren hadn’t done what that. Most likely Kevin would never have gottens a break I F1 Denmark is a small country we are just about 5.7 million people. Not a lot of big sponsors to buy a way into F1. Also Kevin has been well prepared not to repeat Jan’s mistakes when he got into F1. So basically I couldn’t care less what happened to perez and where he’s racing at. As long as Kevin is in a top team.

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