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Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team

After his fifth place finish at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Kevin Magnussen looks ahead to this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, in what will be his first visit to Jeddah.

Your first weekend back as a Formula 1 driver completed – how did it feel and what were your key takeaways and learnings to put into practice this week?

“It was pretty unbelievable – to be top five was crazy. The car felt very good and we were able to push the entire race. We maybe had more degradation than we expected in the first stint but we made up for that in the second and got back on track. The team has done such an amazing job to get us into this position.”

A new track for you, but it’s only been three months since Formula 1 first raced in Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It’s the second-longest track after Spa-Francorchamps and the fastest street-based course of the season, with a record 27 corners. What are your feelings ahead of tackling such an extensive race track?

“From watching on TV last year, it looked like a pretty spectacular track which is super high-speed considering it’s a street circuit. I’m really looking forward to it, I love street circuits and it looks like a challenging one so let’s see. I don’t know it of course, so it will take a few laps to get fully up to grips with it, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team

What types of preparation can you do before getting on track on Friday? How vital is the team’s feedback and going through data going to be to learn a new track? 

“It will be about watching a lot of on-board videos, looking at data to get an understanding of the driving style that is required for the different corners of the track and going through data on the evolution that the track goes through. Also understanding the tarmac, which kerbs are usable is important. Then it’s about doing the track walk and actually seeing it up close and then just getting up to speed with it in practice.” 

Knowing the VF-22 a little better now, how do you expect this new generation of car to handle across a very fast and flowing Jeddah Corniche Circuit?

“We’ve learned a lot from the car this weekend though but at this point it’s still difficult to say anything about the strengths and weaknesses of our car. Driving it, it doesn’t feel like it’s got any massive weaknesses, it’s balanced throughout different speeds but it’s hard to say whether the other cars are even more balanced than ours or have even more grip.”

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