Haas make key admission in row with RB over Kevin Magnussen’s deliberate antics

Michelle Foster
Kevin Magnussen interviewed after the race.

Kevin Magnussen's tactics in Saudi Arabia annoyed RB

Kevin Magnussen “should have” given Yuki Tsunoda back the position he gained off the track in Saudi Arabia, that’s according to his Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu.

RB were left fuming at Haas and their Danish driver after Magnussen not only opted to take a 10-second penalty for passing Tsunoda off the track instead of giving the position back, but he then deliberately slowed down.

Kevin Magnussen’s tactics in Jeddah annoyed RB

Magnussen did that to give his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg breathing room in the battle for the final points-paying position at the Jeddah circuit.

RB didn’t appreciate the tactic.

“What happened was a little difficult to take,” said racing director Alan Permane. “Magnussen drove off the track to deliberately put himself in front of Yuki and then slowed him down by up to two seconds a lap, which allowed Hulkenberg, who hadn’t stopped yet, to create a gap and of course pit in front of all the cars behind.

“That, to me, doesn’t seem correct, and is the very definition of unsportsmanlike behaviour. I’m sure we and other teams will talk to the FIA about it for future races.”

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Even Magnussen’s team boss concedes in hindsight the Dane should’ve given the position back to Tsunoda. He reckons Hulkenberg would’ve still managed to finish P10, though.

“I believe at that point in the race, if I remember the projection very well, we are fighting with Tsunoda for P10,” Komatsu said.

“Of course, we should have given the place back, we should have tried to overtake him. I believe with our pace we could have done that.

“So, I think the end result we are still looking for P10. Whether we could have achieved it is another story.”

This season the FIA have upped the penalty for gaining an advantage by leaving the track from five seconds to 10 in the hope that would deter drivers from deliberately doing it.

However, for Magnussen it was a penalty worth taking as he already had one 10-second penalty for his collision with Alex Albon.

“I overtook Tsunoda and went outside to track, so rules are rules,” he said.

“I’m not happy with myself to get those two penalties, but at least I was able to help the team to create a gap for Nico to pit and get a point.

“It’s a tight battle between the five teams at the back. From P6 down to 10th it’s a real championship, so every point matters.”

That one point has elevated Haas to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Williams, Sauber, RB and Alpine.

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