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GP Week : Issue 197
Ron Dennis can come across as a serious dude, but there was no hiding his satisfaction at the performance of his latest young signing in Melbourne. Kevin Magnussen barely put a wheel out of place all weekend: superb qualifying in dry and wet, followed by an assured, mature race to third ... which ultimately became second thanks to Ricciardo’s demise. “ W hat happened today just feels surreal,” Magnussen beamed, almost in a daze. Being on the podium in the first race of my Formula 1 career – it’s amazing. “My ‘moment’ at the start was quite scary – I got on the power a bit too quickly, and nearly lost it. But the car was fantastic today – I was always able to place it exactly where I wanted, and I had the pace to fight the Red Bull. I had a bit of a go at Daniel towards the ends of the race, but didn’t quite have the speed to get past.” For his part, veteran Jenson Button had a far better race than qualifying, a couple of split-secong pit calls helping his rise to fourth – ultimately third: “It was a great drive by Kevin today – I had a lot of fun chasing him and Daniel down at the end of the race, but my tyres were several laps older than theirs, so it was always going to be tricky. Still, I had a good race. “T he car’s balance wasn’t quite right when I was in traffic – I struggled with understeer when I was behind people, but the car worked very well in clear air. For some reason, it seems to be more difficult to overtake now than it used to be, so we had to do it during the pit stops. “During my second stop, we damaged the nose, which made it a bit cooler in the cockpit, but the guys did a great job of putting me in the right place at the right time. When the Safety Car came out, I dived into the pit lane at the last second – which gained me a couple of places. And then the second stop gained me a couple more. They were both great calls.” The kid snags a podium – and how! 35 GPWEEK.com // 35 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRALIA PARTNERS: