Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Suzuka, 2018

‘No driver to blame’ over Magnussen/Leclerc clash

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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The stewards have cleared Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc for the clash between the pair which brought out the Safety Car in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Leclerc ran into the back of Magnussen’s car after the Haas driver moved in front of the Sauber on the approach to turn one. A furious Leclerc branded Magnussen “stupid”.

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur said Magnussen made “a very dangerous move”, adding that “Charles’ car was quite damaged after that.”

However the stewards took no action after investigating the incident, ruling “no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident.”

Magnussen later retired due to damage from the collision.

“I passed Charles around the outside of 130R,” he explained, “then through the last chicane he kept close and slipstreamed down the main straight.

“I went to the right, I think he followed for a bit and then went back to the left and clipped my left-rear tyre, causing the puncture. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what happens sometimes.

“The tire delaminated and ripped all the floor. It damaged the rear wing, the brake ducts, etc… so we had to retire.”

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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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  • 25 comments on “‘No driver to blame’ over Magnussen/Leclerc clash”

    1. It certainly looked like Magnussen’s fault. What really annoyed me, though, was the race having to wait another lap for him to unlap himself after he’d exploded tyre all over the track driving back to the pit and brought out the SC. Why not leave him where he was and get on with it?

      1. @david-br, I wonder if the reason for not applying any penalty was because Haas pulled Magnussen into the pits not long afterwards. I have to agree with you that it looked entirely intentional and fitted into his habit of making a late lunge at any driver who tries to overtake him, only this time he screwed up and hit somebody.

        1. Oh, you mean sort of like Verstappen, who blocks consistently when an overtake is attempted? Max never penalized for his recklessness, the FIA has done nothing to correct this behavior.

      2. He wasn’t penalized because,
        – he didn’t change direction under braking
        – he did one change of line, which is allowed.

        Leclerc moved too close before he made his choice of which side to go around, and they made their change of line at the same time, which resulted in the crash.

        1. That´s a very accurate description! Just bad luck for both and leclerc should stop making a big scene for something that Kevin was not doing. Calm down!

    2. Madness. This was intentional by Magnussen.

      1. @hahostolze

        I thought it was a ridiculous move as well. Leclerc was on the inside line and his front wings were right next to Magnussen’s rear tyre before he chopped in front. There’s a certain amount of common sense that is required by racers. Sure, you’re allowed one move to defend, but that move cannot be made when a driver is just a couple of inches behind you… And almost in the braking zone!

        I don’t see why Magnussen was getting so much love on this site for his performances this year. He’s still got mediocre pace and a way below average intellect for racing.

        1. If Leclers front wing were right next to Magnussens rear tyre when he change lane, how come it was Magnussens left tyre that punktured when Leclerc was on his right side?

      2. It’s logic: today’s steward, Kristensen, is also Danish.

        1. Wow! I had a hunch MAG was getting off easy do to a friendly steward. The second time this year.
          F1 is hopeless – so much politics involved.
          Hopefully he won’t kill someone..

    3. If they allow those kind of “defence”, i’m afraid we are going to have a big accident of the style “Webber 2010″…
      Its ridiculous that Magnussen wasnt penalized…

    4. Haas are my biggest nightmare.

    5. I generally like Magnussen’s approach of not just moving over, but agressively defending his position.

      However, the last couple of races he has, in my opinion, been pushing it to the limit. Today he ruined his own race by it, and has no-one but himself to blame.

      I get the impression that he is not dealing well with Grojean hitting this stride after a terrible first half of the season. Maybe he should take a page out of Grojean’s book and take some time and effort to think about what is happening and why to fix the problems that he is causing to himself and his team.

      1. Bugger. That should have been “what is happening and HOW to fix”.

        For the want of an edit button

    6. Just incredible. That was so dangerous. He moved right into the path of Charles who had already committed to the inside. You can’t block like that, it was ridiculous. I don’t understand, he should’ve been given penalty points too verstappen incident was far far less dangerous and he got penalty and points.

      1. No no, No no, you get it. This was perfectly fine, colliding at 300km/h is nothing to worry about. But Verstappen on the other hand, that was the most dangerous thing ever.. EVER!!!!! Be could have easily killed five drivers in that one one alone….

    7. What pot have they been smoking? How on Earth can these type of moves go un-penalized is baffling and beyond ridiculous. What does need to happen before they start to hand out penalties for these unnecessarily risky last-minute blocking moves at high-speed? The precedent was set a couple of years ago following the infamous Verstappen-Raikkonen incident on the Kemmel straight. At this rate, someone’s going to get hurt sooner or later. Extremely stupid move from Magnussen. Does he want to get to the heaven or what?

      1. Danish steward – second time this year he has let MAG off the hook.

    8. This is just like vintage Raikkonen. When he was coming up he would also put anyone who bothered him in the wall. Now no one tries – barring of course the young hothead Verstappen of today. Keep going Kmag!

    9. Ha, ha. It’s getting more ridiculous every race.

    10. This was borderline madness. They need to enforce the “one move” rule much better than this, defending positions should be done with a certain degree of predictability, not jerking the steering wheel when the other car is right behind and already went for the same line.

    11. MAG again proving he is the most dangerous (and over rated) driver in F1.
      Somehow he keeps getting away with these moves.

    12. The stewards have analyzed the incident frame by frame and found that both drivers unfortunately decided to move to the right at the same time, so it was a race incident and not a late blocking as some people might think because it apparently looked like a blocking, but it was not! People here should respect when a decision is given instead of continuing to blame one of the drivers, when its wrong!

    13. I am totally with Magnussen on this one.
      KMag had overtaken LeClerc earlier that round, and leClerc catch up because of slipstream and DRS. So he knew he only had that one chance. Watch the clip with that in mind!

      Any racer would expect KMag to defend in that situation and I think leClerc did expect it, since he move left again very quickly. The problem is that KMag only moved a half car-width right, not enough for LeClerc to get around KMag leftside, so he hit him. LeClerc comitted to a fake-right-around-the-left-move, which just didn’t work. He should have pulled out of the move. He did not, because he knew he would not get the chance again and was too comitted, or just surprised.

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