The Brazilian Grand Prix weekend got off to an exciting start on Friday, with Kevin Magnussen and Haas taking full advantage of the ever changing conditions to get the Dane’s first ever pole position in Formula 1.
The American team sent Magnussen out right at the start of Q3 on the softs, allowing him to set the fastest lap of the session before the conditions got worse, making his time impossible to beat.
Lando Norris already has one pole position to his name in similar conditions, in Russia last year, and the McLaren driver has admitted his annoyance as the failed to repeat the feat in Brazil.
The 22-year-old looked to have the conditions mastered all evening as he regularly shot to the top of the timing screens, but in the end the strategy call by his team to not go out on track straight away saw him only manage P4, which is still impressive in itself.
“In the end, I think it was an advantage to be first, obviously,” he said when asked about Haas’ decision to send Magnussen out so early.
“They also have the advantage to be further down the pit lane so as soon as he would head out, they will go out as well but again, they got it right. Hats off.
“You have to congratulate [Haas], they did a great job. So let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
The McLaren driver has explained that his team anticipated the conditions getting better before they got worse, believing that if his team made the same call as Haas he may have been able to beat Magnussen to pole.
“I think when the conditions were a bit more tricky, like Q1, I think we were the quickest and I was the quickest in those conditions,” suggested Norris.
“But in the end there was a bit more ‘do we go out first when the track conditions might be the best or do we wait a little bit and hope they maybe get a little bit better?’
“And we chose the second option, which maybe wasn’t the correct one at the end of the day, but I still managed to go P4 even with the wettest track out of everyone.
“So you win some, you lose some in some ways, and K-Mag obviously went out first and proved they were the best conditions, so congrats to him and Haas, but we still did a good job.”
Norris will be hoping for similar conditions across the race weekend, as he showed that in the wet he can put in lap times competitive with even the best on the grid.