Australian GP: F1 rookie Kevin Magnussen says podium like win
|By Jonathan Noble and Scott Mitchell||Sunday, March 16th 2014, 08:48 GMT|
Kevin Magnussen believes finishing on the Australian Grand Prix podium on his Formula 1 debut with McLaren is like a victory for him and the team.
The rookie starred during a hectic race, surviving a lurid moment within seconds of the start to run comfortably in the top three throughout and even pressure Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo for second in the final stint.
Having become the first Danish driver to stand on a grand prix podium, Magnussen admitted he could not have envisaged such a start to his F1 career - especially as his third place followed a rostrum-free 2013 for McLaren.
The Woking team now leads the constructors' championship courtesy of Jenson Button finishing one place back in fourth.
"I just can't believe it," Magnussen said. "It is a not a win but feels a bit like a win.
"The team is coming off a difficult season and they really wanted to come back.
"They have worked so hard over the winter, working with a rookie who hasn't got any experience - it has been tough for sure, but they have done such a good job and made me feel comfortable with everything.
"I couldn't ask for more."
Magnussen saved fuel with just a few laps remaining in an attempt to mount a final-lap assault on Ricciardo, and though it came to nothing the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion believes the new regulations have opened up more options for teams and drivers.
"You can do stuff with the engine, you can push and then back off, then harvest and go again," he added.
"It makes it exciting from the outside because it creates opportunities for overtaking, but it wasn't enough today, I didn't have enough pace to get past."