Magnussen's display draws all attention

Magnussen's display draws all attention

Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen put Formula One’s old guard on notice on Sunday with a stunning second place for McLaren on his Australian Grand Prix debut.

The 21-year-old’s performance at Albert Park made him the first Dane to stand on an F1 podium, as well as the highest placed debutant since Canadian Jacques Villeneuve made a sensational start with Williams in 1996.

The Woking-based team had been off the podium since 2012 but Magnussen, son of former F1 racer Jan, led the way back with team-mate Jenson Button joining him in third after Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from second in his home race.

“It does feel incredible. It’s now crazy to think that we are here,” Magnussen told reporters before Ricciardo’s disqualification, which Red Bull have appealed. “Today I've done my first Formula One race, I got on the podium and I did it with McLaren.

“It's such a dream come true. I can't explain how it feels, it's just unreal.”

The Dane was fast-tracked into Formula One by McLaren after he won the Renault 3.5 World Series title last year and impressed in a young driver test.

Lewis Hamilton, in 2007, was the last rookie to make a Formula One debut for McLaren and he finished third in Melbourne that year and challenged for the title all season before winning it in 2008.

McLaren felt Magnussen was so promising they dropped Mexican Sergio Perez to make way for him.

The Dane, whose father’s F1 career stalled and ended with just one point after he made his McLaren debut in 1995, said it was a "gamble" that had paid off.

“To take a rookie is a gamble in Formula One, especially in a top team,” he told Sky television. “They listened and believed in me and I can't thank them enough. This has been the best day of my life but I'm sure I'll have better days.”

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