Kevin Magnussen has said he still finds it surreal that he is back in Formula 1 with Haas, let alone achieving stupendous qualifying results like his P4 in Imola today.
In wet and tricky conditions, Magnussen equalled his best-ever qualifying in fourth behind polesitter Max Verstappen, Ferrari’s Charles and McLaren’s Lando Norris, meaning that it is also the best qualifying of Haas’ history.
The second run in the third qualifying session was disrupted by a spin for Norris, ensuring that he would start third for the sprint race on Saturday, and consolidating the Dane’s excellent lap in the first run that was good enough for P4.
The dizzying heights of fourth are perhaps something Magnussen would have been hoping for at McLaren in 2014, but would have only dreamed of when he joined the American outfit.
“It’s fantastic, I mean I don’t know it’s so unexpected still all these things,” he told Sky Sports.
“Even now after a good race in Bahrain and in Jeddah, it’s still just so cool to be in this position and fighting that close to the top.
“We were stronger in the wet than we’re going to be in the dry but [it’s] crazy.”
The 29-year-old also went off at Acqua Minerale on the first lap in Q3, but managed to avoid colliding with the barrier, and was able to escape the wall, but he divulged the smart technique he utilised to escape any serious punishment for his error.
“You want to get as wide as possible before turning in and it’s getting close to that white line but I didn’t think I hit it,” he explained.
“I think I just locked the rears and when they lock and they fully lock and I lost it completely and went through the gravel; I thought it was over!
“As I was spinning, I realised it went into anti-stall and I knew if you stop then you don’t move again so you just have to get out of the anti-stall while you’re spinning and just get on the throttle.
“I didn’t know which direction I was pointing, I just knew I had to get out of the gravel and get back on throttle so yeah, fun!” he chuckled.
It was put to Magnussen that the Scandinavian in him was responsible for extracting the magnificent pace from the car, but he is enthused by the exceptional VF-22 he has been given on his return this year.
“I’d love to take all the credit of course, but the car is great,” he affirmed.
“It’s a fantastic car and it’s fast enough to do this, you know it’s no miracle from my side, it’s just a great car and I did what I could today and I did some good laps and we got P4.
“It’s just a crazy result and I’m very proud of the team.”
The former McLaren and Renault driver said he would love to win the sprint race, but will settle for scoring points on Saturday.
“I mean I want to finish top three of course, I want to win tomorrow,” said Magnussen.
“That’s going to be super hard, top eight, that would be great.”
Ultimately, Magnussen was able to capitalise on Mercedes’ awful day at the office, as well as a disrupted Q3 for Sergio Perez, but it would appear that the Haas possesses sufficient pace to score some points this weekend.