Rookie Kevin Magnussen downplays his flying start to F1 career on his test debut
Day Three pacesetter completed 52 laps during maiden MP4-29 run
By James Galloway at Jerez
Last Updated: 30/01/14 8:20pm
Although the 21-year-old Dane has driven the Woking outfit's F1 car before in the last two Young Driver Tests, Day Three's running at Jerez represented the first time he had taken to track since being confirmed as Sergio Perez's replacement for 2014.
McLaren, having altered their Thursday schedule to give team leader Jenson Button an additional morning in the car following their failure to test on Day One, gave Magnussen the afternoon to acquaint himself with the MP4-29 - something the reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion appeared to do with impressive ease.
Across 52 laps the Dane made no major errors of obvious note and matched Button's Day Two feat by setting the fastest time of the 11-driver field, his 1:23.276 lap nearly half a second quicker than the next best time set by Williams new boy Felipe Massa.
With his performance drawing a big media turnout to his post-session briefing, Magnusson took his first half day at motorsport's top table in his stride.
"It felt good," he said. "Pretty pleased with the reliability so far and pleased to get so many laps done in half a day. So pretty positive."
And his position at the head of the order? "As we all know it's winter testing and no one really knows what the other cars or teams were doing, so not looking into that too much," he insisted.
"It wasn't a 'balls to the wall' lap but we were pushing. We are trying to get good data and I'm trying to learn about the car. Everyone is pushing but you have so many different things that can play a part in what lap times you are doing, so not looking into that."
Magnussen added that he had come away from the afternoon of running having achieved the main things he wanted to.
"I didn't really set any expectations. I was hoping to get a lot of laps and I was hoping to learn from today. So we had a positive day in that respect. We got some good laps and I learnt a lot today, so I'm happy," he added.
He did, admit, however that the special occasion of his first full test hadn't escaped him.
"I had butterflies in my stomach, I struggled to sleep - I'm excited. I'm a rookie," he explained.
"I'm sure everyone was. It's new cars, new season. It's a massive opportunity for me. This day was big for me as a first test as a race driver."
Magnussen completes McLaren's increasingly encouraging first week of running on Friday and fully expects the team to continue moving forwards.
"I'm sure we will improve. We know where we want to improve and I'm sure we will learn more tomorrow. But we can improve this week and the important bit is to get a good understand of how to improve coming away from here.
Having set the Day Two pace in southern Spain, Button was once more leading the way by the time he handed over the car to his rookie team-mate at lunchtime. The Briton, who completed 40 laps, still finished fourth on the final timesheet with a best lap of 1:25.030.
A encouraging afternoon. I'll now debrief with the @McLarenF1 engineers. Thx for all your support all day - really cool!- Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) January 30, 2014
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.