2017 F1 driver rankings #15: Magnussen

2017 F1 season review

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Kevin Magnussen gained a reputation for being F1’s “bad boy” during 2017. It wasn’t entirely undeserved, but he also put in some strong performances in his first year with Haas.

His first collision with a rival made just four corners into the opening race, when Magnussen slithered wide off a kerb and thumped into Marcus Ericsson. By the end of the year he’d earned the wrath of a string of others including Daniil Kvyat (Spain), Nico Hulkenberg (Hungary) and Fernando Alonso (Malaysia).

Kevin Magnussen

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/19
Beat team mate in race 7/13
Races finished 15/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 490/868
Qualifying margin +0.2
Points 19

Some of these moves plainly over-stepped the mark, such as his swerve towards Hulkenberg at the Hungaroring which earned him a penalty and led to a memorable post-race exchange of words. On other occasions he did himself more harm than good.

And, less frequently, Magnussen pulled off moves which were simply terrific. His bold lunge up the inside of Felipe Massa at Suzuka’s turn two was sheer opportunistic brilliance.

Magnussen had to make moves like these because he generally fared less well than team mate Romain Grosjean in qualifying. There were times he dropped out in Q1 while Grosjean reached the top ten.

But Magnussen kept his fellow ex-Renault driver honest in the races. He seemed not to suffer as badly as Grosjean when the Haas wasn’t at its best, though nor did he hit quite the same heights as his team mate.

Along with a trio of eighth-placed finishes, Magnussen scored a season best seventh at Baku, on a weekend when Grosjean struggled very badly as Haas struggled to make their tyres work on the low-grip track. They fared much better at the next round in Austria where Grosjean was at his best and reliability problems scuppered Magnussen’s efforts.

His bold moves on track were matched by a penchant for aggressive tyre strategies, particularly in mixed conditions. Magnussen could usually be relied on to be among the first to risk slicks on a damp track, and so it proved in Singapore. Unfortunately it didn’t pay off.

But he took his final points finish of the year in Mexico with another run which punched above his car’s weight. He came home eighth, out-running Lewis Hamilton’s delayed Mercedes.

With more days like this and fewer reckless moments Magnussen could give Grosjean some headaches in 2018.

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Over to you

He is certainly the most exciting driver in the field, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Struggles in qualifying have lead him starting below where he should be, and whilst he can produce some ballsy overtakes, a lot of the time it instead leads to dirty driving at the cost of himself and his rivals.

What’s your verdict on Kevin Magnussen’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

2017 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #15: Magnussen”

  1. Got to agree with Keith’s assessment. I would put him at #15, just a notch above his teammate at #14 and Stoffel at #13.

  2. So far these rankings are almost identical to mine. Great minds, @keithcollantine

  3. Instead of “suck my blls mate” it should have been “kiss my Haas”

    I like magnussens take no prisoners attitude

    1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      8th December 2017, 14:57

      You sir, have won the internet.

    2. Haha… kiss my hass… that`s a good one… 😄😂😂😂👍🏻

  4. I think I’m almost alone in rating Magnussen’s season as better than Grosjean’s. Certainly not the case points-wise, but I think he was more consistent and his more authoritative in his racing.

    1. I actually agree with you Ben, though I do like Magnussen so prob a bit biased. He was on track for good points at Austria and the car failed, sure he had some bad races and made some silly mistakes but none as bad as Grosjean’s bad days where he just went missing/moaning

      That said qualifying is a real issue for Kevin. Pass of the year for me though that Suzuka / Massa thing

    2. @ben-n

      I think the difference between them is small enough I’d take Magnussen, just because of Grosjean’s attitude.

    3. @ben-n Grosjean scored more points, was faster in qualifying and didn’t rely on luck as much as Magnussen did to score decent results. Grosjean was the better driver, because his highs were higher.

    4. I fully agree with you.
      In Austria MAG had had the upper hand on GRO allw weekend, then in qualifying, MAGs car let him down with a suspension and GRO made Q3. A hydraulic failure took him out in the race, and GRO went on to a fine 6th place and 8 points.
      Had the luck this sole weekend been opposite, GRO would have ended the year with 20 points, MAG with 27 points, and all views on them would be opposite.
      I think the team knows and recognizes this also.

  5. @ben-n I agree with that. Even though Grosjean scored more points, I’d say Magnussen was the better racer. He compared very well to Grosjean and he was the only driver in F1F’s Teammate Comparisons to be 2-2 with his teammate. Magnussen would have at least 6 more points if he didn’t have car issues in Austria, the best track for Haas. At age 25, he has a chance to be great in F1 of he can be a bit more consistent in qualifying.

  6. All I can think at this point is how Räikkönen has avoided being ranked among this lot.

    Only Palmer I would have ranked lower.

    1. Well Raikkonen got a pole and could have won two or three GP. And his teammate is a 4wdc, not Massa, Grosjean or Wehrlein.

  7. With Magnussen, the “double-talk” of the commentators of formula 1 remains.
    If the same maneuver that he did and left him out, Max Verstapeen or Fernando Alonso did, the criticisms would have been minimal.
    He is a pilot with a good future.

  8. He’s a hard racer. To bad for him his hard moves are for a 7th place, where people will call him dirty. Was the move on Massa @ Singapore for a podium we would probably consider it one of the moves of the year. Reliability did cost him, but as stated, his highs aren’t as high as Grosjean’s. I do like him though. However, ditching Renault for Haas is still a move I don’t totally understand.
    In my books he is one of the best midfield fighters, although maybe not the best midfield racer. Boy can he manage some overtakes though.

  9. I am from the USA and a Haas fan and I will fully admit that Magnussen can be a dirty driver at times. When I was at the USGP, I saw him hold up Perez in quali right in front of our stands and said right then it was a dirty move. Not too long later he got handed a grid penalty.

    I will also admit that when said dirty driver is on a team you root for, you don’t mind as much :)

    1. That was pit telling him perez wasn’t on an out lap

    2. Niels Christian
      9th December 2017, 8:32

      Perez and Kevin are friends again…The pit crew radioen MAG that Perez wasn’t on a flying lap, he apologized to Perez whom afterwards said that he was sure that MAG didn’t do it intentionally.

  10. Kenn (@humbleridderen)
    8th December 2017, 17:04

    Magnussen has been one of the most interesting drivers to watch (when the cameras are showing it). Always trying to get the best out of what he has and many times he is succeeding. Especially his first laps this season has been astonising, but also tough overtakes.

  11. I like him. He’s a Person. That’s quite rare in F1 these days. How good is he? He’s a good mid field racer IMO. I don’t think he’s as quick as Romain but he might be cleverer.

  12. Very entertaining driver to the very last race with his recovery after the second turn spin. Sadly he doesnt seem to get what he wants out of the car (or plainly speaken he doesnt perform) but nevertheless i do hope he gets to stay in F1 and manages to improve.

    He got an very balls out attitude but it always takes 2 for drama and hes not hated by everyone he had racingincidents with so it speaks not only for him. Kvyat is very much the same and that i like about them both.

  13. Jorge and Daniels comments above sums Magnussens problems very good up.
    If some of his aggressive overtakings have been executed by Verstappen, Alonso or maybe Raikkonen then he would have been hailed as a watchable podium containder.
    But because the Haas car is only able to claim some lower midfield positions then he gets penalties instead.
    Hehe and a pretty harsh reputation because of his no BS attitude.

  14. Douglas Dahlström
    9th December 2017, 0:17

    I just came to think of that we really had a strong field in 2017!

    PALMER: GP2 Champion
    KVYAT: GP3 Champion
    ERICSSON: Japanese F3 Champion
    STROLL: European F3 Champion
    WEHRLEIN: DTM Champion
    MAGNUSSEN: Formula Renault 3.5 Champion

    I mean, this is pretty impressive for the least six rated drivers.

  15. Stop complaining about MAG – he had a suspension fail and a puncture when heading for points- then he would have been equal to GRO…nobody is talking about his missing FPs to GIO.. those missing hours on the track really does mean a lot…f1fanatic has been on his neck all season..

    He is excellent – much better than the level of the car! Give him a Williams or a Force India and he would be the hero in top 6.. He is doing every F1 fan a big favour every race – overtakes and defending like no other –
    MAG = Racing heart and talent…..

    Next year he will beat GRO big time and many years younger. Even GIO is older than him – and MAG has been in F1 for 4 years!!

    1. Come on Kevin, you can’t big yourself up like that under an alias, get a fan to do it! 👍

      1. Ohh you blew my cover – now I only have the 76 other supporters left on this blog writing nice things about me….

        /Kevin #20
        lol lol lol

  16. Nunu, you are absolutly right, Magnussen is a gifted fighter and racer.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      11th December 2017, 16:25


  17. Magnussen on qualifying…

    “I struggle a little bit when I have oversteer on entry, I can handle mid-corner and exit [oversteer] and also on high-speed [corners], but if I can’t brake and enter the corner with a stable rear I struggle a little bit.

    “This year I spent a bit of time trying to work out where the problem is and then you start working on that problem.
    “Next year I’ll have a better understanding and be able to hit the ground running a bit better.”

    Well, it was his first year with Haas. It will be very interesting to see him a 2nd year in same team (will be his first time of this). We soon forget that GRO have had the benefit of working with the team one year more than MAG (and to not miss out of quite many P1’s).


  18. Exactly… +1

  19. Read and understand f1fanatic:


    Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 8,7 i snitMax Verstappen (Red Bull): 8,7 i snitFernando Alonso (McLaren): 8,5 i snitSebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 8,2 i snitDaniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): 8,0 i snitNico Hülkenberg (Renault): 7,8 i snitSergio Perez (Force India): 7,8 i snitValtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 7,6 i snitEsteban Ocon (Force India): 7,6 i snitFelipe Massa (Williams): 7,4 i snitCarlos Sainz jr (Toro Rosso og Renault): 7,4 i snitPascal Wehrlein (Sauber): 7,0 i snitKevin Magnussen (Haas): 6,9 i snitKimi Raikkonen (Ferrari): 6,9 i snitStoffel Vandoorne (McLaren): 6,7 i snitMarcus Ericsson (Sauber): 6,7 i snitRomain Grosjean (Haas): 6,7 i snitDaniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso): 6,5 i snitLance Stroll (Williams): 5,9 i snitJolyon Palmer (Renault): 5,4 i snit

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