Kevin Magnussen says it is slow progress but is convinced that McLaren is “coming back to the top” of F1.
A double-podium at the Australian Grand Prix – the first race of the season – pointed to a strong year for McLaren, but neither driver has since finished higher than fourth as another winless season beckons for the team. While Magnussen says the first result was not a true reflection of the ultimate pace of the car, he is certain McLaren has been making progress compared to the front-runners since Melbourne.
“What happened is we had a great start in Melbourne because we were very well-prepared with all the systems in the car and very early we got to a high level of the car and used all of the potential of the car,” Magnussen told Crash.net
“Then all the other teams caught up, got their systems under control, got the maximum out of the car and we fell behind because we didn't have any more potential; we got there very early. Basically that's what happened. We're lacking downforce and we're trying to catch up. We're coming back to the top just very slowly.”
And Magnussen believes the result in Australia was a double-edged sword for both himself and McLaren as it raised expectations higher than they should have been for 2014.
“I'm happy about the result and I'm love that we got on the podium in the first race but it was tough as well because straight away expectations were massive. I had the second best result of a rookie or something like that in the history of Formula One.
“It was very special and to have those tough races afterwards was extra tough because of that result. Now I have my expectations in control again and I can see positive things in a P5 finish or P6, whereas straight after Australia we finished eighth or ninth and even P5 wouldn't have been satisfying.“