Lack of championship 'expectation' helping Magnussen enjoy F1 return

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Kevin Magnussen is enjoying his second stint in Formula 1 without the "expectation" of becoming champion.

Just 10 days before the new season, the Dane got an unexpected call to rejoin Haas in 2022 after Nikita Mazepin was dropped in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

So far, Magnussen's comeback has been somewhat of a fairytale with three top 10 finishes in the first four races. 

And reflecting further on his return, K-Mag admits he can enjoy simply having the opportunity to race in F1 again.

"I think it's different," he said via "Again because I closed that chapter and I kind of got to a point where I accepted that becoming champion wasn't going to happen.

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"And now coming back, I just take it as a day-by-day kind of thing. I try to focus on the job, try and have fun, and push everything I can.

"I don't feel like I have this big weight on my shoulders of expectation," Magnussen added.

"I would love to be Formula 1 champion, it's still as much a dream, but I don't think I have the same kind of expectation. If it happens, I'd be super happy.

"And I'm here now in the sport, I have a seat, so everything is possible. But I don't feel like some weight off my shoulders."

Last year Magnussen made the move to sportscars, competing in IMSA, and he explained how life without F1 actually put his time in the sport into context.

"Sometimes when you lose something, you realise what you had," he admitted.

"And certainly, when I was out last year, I looked back at my Formula 1 career and felt very grateful suddenly.

"I was grateful before, but not in the same way. I was more frustrated with a lot of things and so focused on where I wasn't: focused on the fact that I wasn't winning, rather than actually happy about being in Formula 1.

"I wasn't really able to appreciate it, so things have changed a little bit."

But now he is back in F1, Magnussen does have one ambition with Haas in 2022, to return to the podium for the first time since his debut race in Australia eight years ago.

“It’s certainly a dream – I think about it quite a lot,” he said.

Magnussen Podium AusGP 2014

“We are in the fight to be the best team after the three big ones.

“If you are that, then you are the seventh [fastest] car on the grid if everything’s normal. So it doesn’t take that many cars to have problems to then get a podium.

“Sometimes Mercedes look like – at least in the beginning of the season – they won’t be so far ahead of us, so it wouldn’t take a lot of luck.

“I don’t think we can drive onto the podium just by pure pace, but last year especially we saw many teams get on the podium that weren’t regular podium finishers.

“I think it’s realistic. It’s not totally unrealistic to dream about it. I don’t think you can expect it because we are not fast enough to get there just on pure pace, as I said, but I’m dreaming about it. I’m putting my money on it.”