‘I trusted him’ – Kevin Magnussen accuses Sergio Perez of ‘intimidation’ tactics

Michelle Foster
The scene as Kevin Magnussen sends Sergio Perez into a crash at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, crashes in Monaco.

Kevin Magnussen is standing his ground over his Monaco crash with Sergio Perez, saying the Red Bull driver saw him and tried to “intimidate” him into backing down.

That, though, doesn’t mean he sees the Mexican racer as a “dirty driver or anything”.

Kevin Magnussen ‘trusted’ Sergio Perez to leave him room

Kevin Magnussen and Perez brought out the red flag at the Monaco Grand Prix when they crashed heavily on the opening lap as Magnussen tried to overtake Perez on the run up the hill after Ste. Devote.

Trying to pass the Red Bull driver around the outside as the track kinked left, Magnussen ran out of the room and the two touched.

The Haas driver was largely blamed for the crash, which also caught out his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and is said to have cost Red Bull two to three million dollars such was the damage to Perez’s RB20.

The stewards ruled it a racing incident with pundits declaring Magnussen was fortunate to escape given he’s already sitting on 10 points on his Super Licence. That’s two away from a race ban.

Having protested his innocence on the day, he still believes it was Perez’s actions that led to their crash.

“I don’t see Checo as a dirty driver or anything,” Magnussen told the media in Montreal. “But I was surprised that he didn’t leave me the room.

“Clearly, he was just pushing me to the wall to intimidate me and have me back out. But I don’t think… that’s certainly not the way we should be racing.

“He can’t argue that he didn’t see me. He saw me. There’s no way around it. He did see me.

“So yeah, that is the reason I kept it flat – because I trusted that he would leave me the space since he’d seen me.”

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The Dane says even in hindsight, and watching several replays of the crash, he stands by his opinion.

“I’ve looked at it many times,” he said. “It’s always one thing right when it happens, but your view of what happens often changes when you see it from the outside. But in this case, it didn’t change so much.

“He had seen me, and I knew he had seen me. It’s one thing if you’re not sure he’s seen you, then I perceive the risk as being bigger.

“If I wasn’t sure that he’s seen me, I probably would have just backed off. But it was very clear to me that he had seen me. So, I thought okay, he’s going to leave a car width. I trusted that he was going to do that, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have trusted him.

“But that doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t leave a car width. Maybe with my experience, I should have known that certain drivers don’t always leave a car width. There is always a risk that they won’t.”

But with pundits and fans alike widely condemning Magnussen for the crash, it begs the question what’s next for the Haas driver.

Out of contract with the team at the end of this season, it has been suggested his days in F1 are numbered and he could be frozen out with Oliver Bearman expected to be one of Haas’ 2025 drivers with Esteban Ocon or even Pierre Gasly tipped for the second seat.

“There is a chance of that happening,” Magnussen said when asked if he could be frozen out. “The team knows me very well, I’m a known quantity to the team. So I don’t think there’s anything for me to prove.

“It’s a very open driving market this time around. We’ll see how it pans out.

“I’ve made it clear that I would love to continue here. And I the team is in a good position where there’s pretty good hope for the future for this team. So, yeah, I’d love to be part of it.

“I don’t know how long it’s gonna take until we know how it’s gonna go. But until then just keep driving.”

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