Magnussen, who returned to F1 this season after a one-year hiatus, caused one of the biggest shocks in the sport’s history by claiming a maiden pole for himself and the Haas team in a dramatic wet qualifying session in Brazil. 

The Dane went quickest of anyone during the only dry laps in Q3 before the session was suspended when George Russell beached his Mercedes in the gravel. 

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Rain started to fall while the red flag was out, preventing Magnussen’s rivals from improving when the session restarted with eight minutes left on the clock, enabling him to secure a sensational pole. 

“I don’t know what to say,” said a visibly shocked and emotional Magnussen in parc ferme after qualifying. 

“The team put me out on track on exactly the right moment. We were first out in the pit lane, did a pretty decent lap, and we’re on pole. It’s incredible.

“Thank you to Gene Haas and Guenther [Steiner] and the whole team for this opportunity. I got back this year after a year out, and it’s just been an amazing journey. So thank you.”

Asked if he expected such a result when he woke up on Friday morning, Magnussen said: “Not even close. It’s incredible. Thank you.”

Magnussen was in total disbelief when he was told of his position as he made his way back to the pits under the red flag, replying: “You are fucking kidding me! I have never felt like this in my life. Don’t celebrate yet, don’t celebrate yet.”

Magnussen will start Saturday’s 24-lap sprint race from the very front of the grid, sharing the front row with world champion Max Verstappen, who ended up two-tenths adrift. 

And he has vowed to give “maximum attack” and “go for something funny” in the sprint, which will determine the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.

In contrast, Magnuseen's under pressure teammate Mick Schumacher was slowest of all as he faces an uncertain F1 future.