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Magnussen "forgot" to enjoy leading Brazil F1 sprint

Kevin Magnussen has said he was so busy looking after his tyres that he "forgot" to enjoy leading the early laps of Saturday's Formula 1 sprint race in Brazil.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

From his pole position, the Dane made it to the first corner in front, and he remained in the lead until Max Verstappen passed him on the third lap.

He slipped back to seventh as the other five cars from the top three teams worked their way past. He had hoped to finish best of the rest, but he ultimately lost out to McLaren's Lando Norris.

Nevertheless, a point for eighth place was useful for his Haas team in the battle with AlphaTauri for eighth in the F1 world constructors' championship, as the US squad moved two points clear ahead of the full-distance race on Sunday.

“I forgot to really enjoy it,” Magnussen said of his brief stint in the lead. “I was looking after my tyres and trying to get into the rhythm, so I didn't really think about it.

"My battle was P7, P8, around there, so I was trying to look after my tyres.

“I knew these guys behind would overtake, and I just tried to lose as little time as possible in order to finish as high up as possible.

“It almost went as well as we could have hoped for. The pace wasn't quite good enough to keep Norris behind, he was a bit too fast to keep behind.

“But we still got a point out of it, led a couple of laps, and started from pole position for the first time, which was great.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, battles with Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, battles with Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Magnussen praised his Haas team for their efforts during the weekend: “I felt like they were very focused, they put all this joy of yesterday behind for a while, and then focused on what they are here to do, and when we leave we can think back to the joy of qualifying again and the pole position.

“And, every once in a while, we can bring that up in our minds and just think about it a little bit. But when there's a job to do like today in the sprint race it's important to focus on what's important.”

Meanwhile, after the frustration of qualifying only 20th, Magnussen’s team-mate Mick Schumacher drove a strong sprint race to 12th place, despite some concerns over his Ferrari engine.

“It definitely lit up a fire, which helped today,” he said when asked by Autosport if qualifying had given him extra motivation.

“We had enough pace, for sure to go into Q3. Upsetting that we weren't able to do that, or show that pace. Nonetheless, Kevin did a great job, the team did a great job. It's just great to see the team having a pole position.”

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Schumacher admitted that the engine worries had not helped in the sprint: “We had a good opening lap, that was definitely a key. And then obviously, we had a few overtakes here and there.

“But, overall, we were a bit concerned about the engine. We had some issues there. So that was what we were mainly talking about in the whole of the race.

“I had to do a lot of things on the steering wheel to try and fix it. So hopefully everything will be OK for tomorrow.”

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