Kevin Magnussen said he never even dreamed pole position was possible in Brazil and praised his Haas team for making it happen at Interlagos.
Magnussen claimed a popular first pole for himself and Haas in a dramatic qualifying session affected by the rain.
In the opening moments of Q3, Magnussen got out before the other nine cars when the track was still suited to dry tyres, which allowed him to set the quickest lap time of the session before the rain intensified.
When the rain worsened, Haas’ pole was confirmed, prompting wild celebrations in the paddock for the American team for its best qualifying result since joining F1 in 2016.
Asked if he’d expected pole when he woke up this morning, Magnussen said: “Not even close. It’s incredible.”
He added: “I don’t know what to say. The team put me out on track on exactly the right moment. We were first out in the pit lane, did a pretty decent lap, and we’re on pole. It’s incredible.
“Thank you to Gene Haas and Gunther [Steiner] and the whole team for this opportunity. I got back this year after a year out, and it’s just been an amazing journey. Thank you.”
Magnussen only returned to F1 on the eve of the season — the popular Dane replaced Nikita Mazepin when Haas ditched the Russian driver a week before the opening race in Bahrain.
“This sport… you go up and down, at least I do,” Magnussen joked to Sky Sports later. “It’s a lot of fun when it’s days like this.”
Magnussen scored a podium on his F1 debut for McLaren in 2014 but has never matched the result.
When asked how his first pole compared to that, he said: “More surprising! I think it feels better.
“I didn’t know what to expect back then. I came in as this arrogant little kid thinking I was the king of the world and then I had a lot of lessons after that showing how difficult it actually is in this sport, now I’m on pole position, so I’ve just got to enjoy it.”