Haas Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen says his impressive Austrian Grand Prix qualifying performance was totally unexpected on a “rollercoaster day of emotions”.

Magnussen had already faced a set-back to his weekend when Haas discovered a problem with his gearbox during final practice, resulting in a race against time to fix the issue ahead of qualifying with the team down on members due to injuries and illness within the American squad’s camp.

Haas had not expected to be particularly competitive in Austria but Magnussen turned in the surprise performance of qualifying to set the fifth fastest time, just a second shy of polesitter Charles Leclerc.

“It just came together on that final run and the grip was there,” Magnussen explained. “We added a lot of front-end and I was not expecting that it would work.

“I did have a bit of understeer at high-speed but the team have just been really on it - not only on set-up and giving me the right things I needed in the car, but also the guys in the garage changing the gearbox between FP3 and qualifying was a really good job.

“I drove past the television and I saw it was P5 and I got pretty excited,” he added. "It was just such a rollercoaster day of emotions between losing the gearbox and getting that penalty and then not expecting much going into qualifying.

“But then on that last run just nailing it and putting it P5 was just such a release of emotions.”

However, Magnussen will start sunday’s race from 10th on the grid after being hit with a five-place penalty for the gearbox change

“You’ve just got to accept it and do the best job you can,” he said.

“Still you have something to fight for because you have those five positions but the better you qualify the better you start. Disappointing not being able to start fifth but nonetheless just happy with that performance.

“We start P10 on the wrong tyre with no straight-line speed but what the hell, other than that it’s all good.

“This weekend has been pretty disappointing with the penalty and also not looking great in terms of pace, so it was just a big surprise and such a big relief to pull that one off, so emotions were pretty high for everyone in the team.”



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