Kevin Magnussen’s shock maiden pole position in Brazil was “well deserved” and had nothing to do with luck, says Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner.
Magnussen claimed his and Haas’ first career pole in a qualifying session hampered by mixed conditions, banging in a quick lap in Q3 when the track was as its driest.
The Dane’s lap time put him on provisional pole, two tenths clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen when the session was red-flagged after George Russell beached his Mercedes in the gravel at Turn 4.
Despite the session resuming, conditions worsened and no one could beat Magnussen’s lap time, with the result sparking wild celebrations in the Haas garage.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the session, Steiner said he had been “scared to dream” of such a result, as Haas scored its first pole since joining the F1 grid in 2016.
“We are trying hard, the whole team has been trying hard for seven years, and then circumstances let us pull this one off,” said Steiner.
“But I think it was not luck. It was well deserved, from the driver, from the team being on the right tyres at the right time, Kevin putting a lap down when it was needed.
“You need to go out there, he was first out there. You can say yeah, he had an advantage, but [as] a disadvantage, he had nobody to gauge with. He was on his own. He put a lap down, and it stuck.
“When it rains soup, you need to have a spoon! And we had a spoon ready today!”
Magnussen had been the first car out on track in Q3 having lined up at the end of the pitlane before anyone else, which Steiner believes played a key role in his run to pole.
“We just can do what we can do,” said Steiner. “I think the other cars that are only 10, 15, 20 seconds behind us, they couldn’t do what he did.
“A credit to him, he was given the opportunity and he took it.”
It marks a remarkable turnaround for Magnussen, who was set to race in sportscars until he was drafted in to replace Nikita Mazepin on the eve of the season opener in Bahrain, claiming pole on his 100th grand prix start for the team.
“He deserves a lot, the whole team deserves it,” Steiner added.
“We always work hard, we never give up, we keep on fighting, and you will always have naysayers. But welcome to our pole position, naysayers!”