Boullier praises “faultless” Magnussen’s rookie drive

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier described Kevin Magnussen’s drive in the Australian Grand Prix as “one of the finest performances by a Formula One rookie in living memory”.

Magnussen finished third on the road and was promoted to second place by Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion.

“Despite his youth and inexperience, he drove like a man who’d notched up 100 grands prix already,” Boullier.

“It was a complex and challenging race, yet he managed those complexities and challenges faultlessly.”

Boullier also praised Jenson Button’s climb to an eventual third place from tenth on the grid, following his setback on Saturday.

“Jenson recovered skilfully from his disappointing qualifying result, which was the result of his not being able to put in a final quick lap owing to inopportune yellow flags, and drove the sort of measured yet combative race that he’s become famous for,” said Boullier.

“Kevin scored 18 of the 33 constructors’ world championship points we racked up today, Jenson 15, and both guys drove superbly,” he added.

“To be in first place in the constructors’ world championship is a very nice feeling, but let’s not forget that today’s race was only the first of 19, and I’ll be a lot happier if we’re still in first place in the constructors’ world championship after the 19th race.”

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Boullier praises “faultless” Magnussen’s rookie drive”

  1. Impressed with Magnussen, quick and composed, nice drive.

  2. I was impressed, a great debut drive from the Dane. Fortunate with Ricciardo getting DSQ’d but did everything required of him. Could be part of F1s next generation of stars.

  3. KevMag is the new LHam. Brilliant. Finally a driver worth rooting for after a year of sabbatical at McLaren. And with Ron being there again, this feels eerily like 2007!

    1. Finally a driver worth rooting for

      That’s precisely what I was thinking throughout the race. What a fantastic driver he already is, and what he might become. I think if he keeps performing at this level and the car remains competitive during the course of the season, Button might be thinking twice about going home after this season is completed.

    2. I hope he is not the new LHam, but something better, more consistent and more likeable.

      1. I agree with that. Hammy burst onto the scene won his 1 WC and hasn’t done much since

      2. Haha ok Ham still class, he done nothing lol, no threat

    3. I sure hope it’s not like 2007, haha.

    4. Poor him if he’s a new LHam…you obviously not a fan of Magnussen, if so you shouldn’t say that, he can be ofended, he has all to be by far BEST than Hamilton…

      1. @hipnotic

        You have to be joking dude like 6th on list of poles all time at 29 1xwc Ham will be behind Vet and Schumi when he finishes. Why do people always underate him guys he had an awful year in 2011, but what happend in 202 he was as good as any. Hardly like he is done isist, he is still racking poles up. Hamilton is a great driver and so is Nico we all know this now, i hate how people think Ham should wipe floor with Nico, dont you dare disrespect Hamitlon when he went V Alo, and if Magnuseen fails to be button well lets justlol.

        1. @dan

          I’m sorry if i ofended you with my statement, i meant no harm, Lewis is for me a good driver, but think there are more and better race drivers in F1, you stated two, i can state for example Alonso, and Lewis has as many champioships has Button or Villeneuve…to expect Magnussen to be “as good as Hamilton” for me is to say: “He can be an average race driver”, and for me Kevin has all it does to be one of the best…there’s a diference for me…

  4. Hulkenburg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas, Magnussen, Hamilton, Rosberg and (maybe?) Kyvat are the stars of the future 2016/2017 and beyond. By that time, they would have replaced Alonso, Raikkonen, Button etc. as the leading driver and maybe even World Champions!

    1. And Da Costa :D

  5. He did indeed have a great race. Very promising start for a new rookie.

  6. Definitely DOTW for me. He is expected to ‘do a Hamilton’. Well, he begins better!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      16th March 2014, 14:40

      @spoutnik Yes, let’s hope he’s better than often-4th-WDC-place

    2. He hasn’t actually begun better than hamilton, he got exactly the same result as what hamilton achieved in his first race, still, pretty darn impressive!

      1. @breesegp

        Hamilton (2007):
        – Qualifications : 4th
        – Race: 3rd

        – Qualifications: 4th
        – Race: 3rd 2nd

        Even if twisty, the fact is he is doing a better start for now :)

      2. Well, when you consider that Hamilton did over 20,000 miles of testing before his debut and Kevin has completed less than 2000 miles, I’d say he’s done a hell of a lot more impressive job than Hamilton!

        1. @Nick101, but who did Hamilton race againts, oops is forgot.

      3. Hamilton got the result in a better car, it was expected.

        1. Yeah that’s a fair point, now let’s see if magnussen can reach the podium in all his first 9 races ;)

        2. Nobody expected him to throw one down the inside of Alonso though…

          Magnussen went one better though, outqualifying Alonso and outracing him. (Different cars I know but still very good.)

          I saw on Twitter that he is the 2nd son of a former F1 driver to finish 2nd in his debut race after outqualifying his teammate. (RBR appeal pending)

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            16th March 2014, 19:48

            As Jenson said, it was generally speaking a procession. The only one doing the passing was Bottas. It’s not as if Magnussen passed a car that was a half second faster. He drove the car well and as a rookie that by itself was remarkable.

          2. @craigo, u missed Ham start in 07 methinks. What was impressive about Magnussen please inform me? But had by far better race pace, Magnussen profited from Ham not being their you guys are hilarious i would undertsnd if Kmag hd someone down his neck all timebut field was so spaced out because of Hulk, u telling me Mag would have been 3rd if both Willams and Ham finished. Mag was as im[ressive as Kyvat good but nt great did what his car should do. And lol Ham was beat by a tenth with morefuel in 07 by Alo please i have the 07 season in fullHam was way confident he said after qually i have more fuel it should be ok, who cares if he dint beat the race pace king in his 1strace lol

          3. @craig-o I think it would be JV who would be the other F1 rookie son of a former F1 driver to get pole and come second in his first F1 race. Shame was he had to give up the lead to Damon Hill as his engine/gearbox was leaking oil, so he came within a hair of winning it.

            Should be interesting to see how KM does when the pressure is at it’s greatest.

  7. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    16th March 2014, 14:51

    I love the batch of rookies we’ve got. Hulk, RoGro, Mag (not to be confused with a user who has a goldfish picture), Bottas, Ricciardo, JEV and Bianchi could all be stars. Obviously motorsport still has its flaws with attracting new talent but compared to the past the grid is shaping up wonderfully. Ron might soon stop pining for Hamilton’s return at this rate. If it wasn’t for how quick the Merc was this year it would be easy to understand Hamilton not getting a 2nd WDC and Kimi and Alonso not getting another one just due to how competitive the grid is. That said, the grid is still suffering a bit when it comes to the competitiveness of the cars. It looks like we’ve gone from RBR dominating to Merc which is just a sideways step rather than progress but it is still early days so hopefully the field will tighten up.

    1. @stephanief1990 That was sort of the case we had 5 years ago with Brawn. At least by the middle of the season Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and to a degree Renault and BMW had all caught up! So it would be nice if there was a bit of competition rather than the Lewis & Nico show every weekend!

      1. @craig-o
        Brawn had hardly any budget and had to lay off half their staff though, Merc are what, 3rd biggest spender now, and have headhunted half the tech genii in F1 :P

        Having said that, I think at least Red Bull will catch them at some point, but I don’t expect them to overtake like they did in ’09.

    2. when does a driver stop being a rookie ? Hulk & Groesjean are no longer rookies Verne & Bottas questionable, Magnussen & Kyvat definitely are as its their first season, Ricciardo most certainly isnt my book you are only a rookie in your first season.

  8. 1st race…notice not a sell out

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    16th March 2014, 18:38

    Wow, just wow. His pace throughout practice was frankly unimpressive, but the second it started to count, Kevin found the speed – which is not just an attribute of an excellent racing driver, but of a potential future champion. Although I have been utterly scathing of any that attempt to illustrate him as Hamilton reincarnated (based on Magnussen’s frankly mediocre junior category results compared with Hamilton’s utter domination), and was equally scathing when he was parachuted in to replace the perfectly decent Perez, I see now where the logic was, with it being frankly illogical to retain Perez based on a piece of paper presumably gleamed from the Young Driver Test that said Kevin was faster. That said, I still believe that McLaren should have filled Hamilton’s seat with the Hulk in the first place…

    But perhaps the most encouraging component of today’s, other than the lack of a potentially fatal continuance of Vettel domination, was the performances of all the young drivers. Sadly, last year we lost Webber from the grid and in the coming seasons we may loose Massa, Button and even Raikkonen, and yet the quality of the grid will remain with young guns like Magnussen, Bottas, Kvyat and, when he eventually finds himself in F1, Robin Frijns. Bring on the future champions…

    1. Thank you Sir, you are very welcome! You beat me to any smart**s remarks and I will hereby refrain. :-) Better than even I dared to hope from the young Mag.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        17th March 2014, 9:53

        @poul – Yes, and if memory serves me correctly, you are the same chap I spent remonstrating about Magnussen’s promotion for the best part of a month, an opinion I have very recently repealed…but with regard to Perez though, not Hulkenberg, who should have got Hamilton’s seat in the first place.

  10. @william-brierty

    regard to Perez though, not Hulkenberg, who should have got Hamilton’s seat in the first place.

    Doesn’t Magnussen’s performance say that maybe, just maybe, you know less about drivers than actual F1 teams? And that maybe, just maybe, they know far more than you about what, how and why they do what they do?

    Listen, I’m not telling you to stop having opinions, but this pretty much provea you shouldn’t follow those opinions with such a blind stubborness. Even when Magnussen had a terrific result, you still insist they are wrong.

    Seriously, give teams the benefit of the doubt, and realize that your opinions may be wrong, so expressing them with less arrogant stuborness would be a more reasonable approach, instead of insisting over and over again you’re right and that you know better.

    Because chances are, that neither of us do.

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