McLaren stand-in Kevin Magnussen has taken full responsibility for his accident during the second practice session at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Dane lost the rear of his Honda-powered MP4-30 under braking at Turn 6 and slid sideways into the tyre wall trying to regain control of the car.
“There was nothing on the track. It was just me,” Magnussen said afterwards, when asked about the accident.
“I tried to push the braking and lost the rear on the entry, and it snapped in a difficult time and that’s when I pointed the car towards the wall and couldn’t hold it. It was just a driver mistake.”
The accident caused significant damage to the left-hand side of the car, which meant that the McLaren mechanics had to apply to use one of their allocated curfew breaks to work on repairing the car overnight so it would be ready in time the third practice session, which takes place on Saturday at 2:00pm local time.
Despite having only managed a total of 11 laps’ running across the two sessions, Magnussen was encouraged by the handling of the MP4-30, even if it was well down on pace.
“We are obviously not fast but it feels good and we’re not too far off where I think the optimum balance in the car will be,” he added.
“Hopefully we can get a better idea tomorrow and see what we can do. If we can finish I don’t know where we will finish. It’s quite difficult to predict.”
Teammate Jenson Button was similarly struck by a lack of on-track mileage as the MP4-30’s poor reliability continued into the year’s first race.
Button completed 27 laps across the two practice sessions, finishing 3.6 seconds off Nico Rosberg’s ultimate pace in FP2 and thirteenth-fastest of the sixteen runners to post a time. All of those slower than him – Max Verstappen (battery), Marcus Ericsson (rear suspension) and his own teammate Magnussen (crash) – encountered dramas, and so did the Englishman, who suffered a predictable loss of power from his Honda engine before the end of the session.
A two-time winner at Albert Park, Button confessed that his biggest fear was is qualifying on the back row of the grid.
“I’m hoping it won’t be the last row of the grid tomorrow, hopefully 20 cars will run,” he told reporters at the end of the day.
“It’s not going to be easy, we all know that, and that’s the important thing, we are all working as one. We are not pulling any fingers, we are just solving the problems as we go and hopefully we will be competitive sooner rather than later.
“There is a lot of hard work needed, but we knew that coming into this season. I don’t have any real targets in terms of finishing. There is a lot of data gathering needed tomorrow [Saturday] and in terms of qualifying it will be tricky I’m sure.”
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