Points in Singapore; a very short race in Malaysia, Renault driver Kevin Magnussen knows which scenario he would prefer to have play out this coming weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan, one of the drivers’ most favourite circuits on the calendar…
What are your thoughts on Suzuka?
It’s one of the best tracks on the calendar and it’s always a pleasure to drive there as it’s really enjoyable. It’s a fantastic track. I’m really looking forward to it.
It’s an iconic circuit. What are your memories of your very first lap around it?
It’s one of those circuits you already know before you’ve been there as you’ve seen it so many times on television and you’ve seen so many on-board laps that it’s part of your subconscious. It might sound strange, but even on your first lap there’s a rhythm there. It’s just fantastic how it flows and how it gives you a challenge on every corner.
What do you think of Japan as a country?
It’s very different from anywhere else I’ve been in the world. The Japanese fans are crazy about Formula 1 and they are so welcoming to us. It’s always a very pleasurable experience to visit Japan.
What did you take away with you from Malaysia?
I took a lot of positives away from Malaysia. I didn’t have a smooth weekend up until qualifying – with a fire in FP1 then trying to catch-up in FP2 - yet we got it together in qualifying to get P14, which was a pretty good result for us, yet we could see that even more was possible. That gave us a positive outlook for the race but as can happen in motor racing, our potential was extinguished in such a short space of time. On the other side of the garage, Jo scored a point with P10 which showed that the car had good race pace once again. I would have liked to have seen where I could have finished.
Talk us through what happened in your race…
It was a first corner incident as simple as that. The contact between Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg ahead meant that everyone behind had to take evasive action. I was positioned well on track on the inside of the corner but first was hit from behind by Daniil Kyvat – which damaged my rear diffuser – then my front wing and brake cooling drum fence were damaged as Esteban Gutiérrez came across. We were able to replace the front wing but it was impossible to do anything about the brake cooling fence which was not doing its job because of the damage. This meant it both affected the aero and wasn’t cooling the brakes. We could have lived with the loss of aero, but the brakes were overheating and the team had to make the call to retire the car.
Frustrating yes, but that’s motor racing sometimes. Overall I left the race with a positive vibe. Even though all the technical development is going into next year’s car the team are still making good improvements on how we use the potential of this year’s car. We definitely feel more on top of things to get the maximum out of the car in any situation. If this carries on to Suzuka and for the rest of the season we should be able to maintain this level of performance.