Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Hockenheimring, 2018

2018 F1 driver rankings #14: Magnussen

2018 F1 season review

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The Haas VF-18 was capable of more than either driver got out of it. Kevin Magnussen delivered the points it merited more regularly than Romain Grosjean, but there were still puzzling days when he was well off the pace.

This was the first time in his entire motor racing career that Magnussen had driven for the same team in two consecutive seasons. The consistency seems to have agreed with him, as he produced a career-best ninth in the drivers’ championship and was the team’s top points-scorer. But in a car which was regularly fourth-quickest, he nonetheless ended the year behind drivers from five different teams.

His opening races set the standard. Magnussen was running fourth ahead of Grosjean in Australia when a pair of disastrous pit stops put both out. He bounced back by delivering a strong fifth in Bahrain.

He collected another point in China, though this was one of those races where he benefited from being out-qualified by his team mate, as F1’s perverse tyre rules allowed Magnussen to start on new rubber.

Kevin Magnussen

Beat team mate in qualifying8/19
Beat team mate in race7/14
Races finished18/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate610/1025
Qualifying margin+0.12s (adjusted)

Though Grosjean made heavy weather of his season, he was the quicker of the two, by an average of 0.12s once outlier results are taken out of calculation. Magnussen led the way initially – he was 7-3 up at the summer break – but he only out-qualified Grosjean once after the summer break and ended up losing 11-8.

The initiative swung sharply between the two. Magnussen was consistently ahead in Hungary, but well off his team mate at Monza and miles behind in Singapore. His uncompromising approach to race craft cost him at times as well, leading to various run-ins with his rivals which cost him more points.

It was telling that Magnussen followed Grosjean home in the final two races. Both Haas drivers struggled for consistency this year, but Magnussen much less so than his team mate, which is why he ended up ahead.

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Over to you

Was very good at the beginning but seemed to struggle when season progressed.

What’s your verdict on Nico Hulkenberg’s 2018 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

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2018 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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24 comments on “2018 F1 driver rankings #14: Magnussen”

  1. What a joke!!! #14 in the rakings and this is his best ever season whit 56 point… He has a much better season then Gasly, Saints ect.. Come on Racefans :-(

    1. JJ, Magnussen was beaten by two drivers who had less competitive cars than he did, and only fractionally outscored Sainz Jr and even Alonso – it took Magnussen three quarters of the season to catch Alonso, even with Alonso having a markedly inferior car to his.

      I’m sorry, but Keith is right – when you look rationally at the competitiveness of his car, even if it was his best season, Magnussen could and should have scored more points than he did.

  2. Relatively consistent throughout the season overall albeit still quite a few points lost due to driver errors as well as mysterious blips in performance, but definitely more consistent than his teammate.

  3. I would even put him in the Top Ten. He really won me over this year.

    1. I just don’t get the rationale behind it. He was mediocre throughout the season. When Grosjean found his footing he completely outclassed Magnussen… And his teammate is ranked at #17.

      It might be his best season so far, but that just goes to show how rubbish he actually is.

      1. Outclassed?!

        It ended 1-1 when we speak of outclassing (Germany against Hungary) in that second half of the season. Magnussen had a faster race pace in most of the races were he ended up right behind Grosjean, but wasn’t allowed to try and overtake – also had no need for it.

        Grosjean had better qualifying, sure, but that was to be expected when they adjusted to car to fit him better than it would Magnussen (overstearing against understearing). As to get a better team result and that worked for Haas, but worked against Magnussen.

        The rationale behind is that Magnussen would have won the best of the rest championship if not for Australia and showed extremely good pace that first half of the season and was one of the better starters as well.

  4. I’m predicting:

    1. Hamilton
    2. Verstappen
    3. Vettel
    4. Ricciardo
    5. Alonso
    6. Leclerc
    7. Hulkenberg
    8. Raikkonen
    9. Bottas
    10. Ocon
    11. Perez
    12. Gasly
    13. Sainz
    13. Sainz

    1. Verstappen 2nd is impossible, vettel 3rd too.

      1. @esploratore Why is it impossible? Other than Lewis Hamilton, who realistically has had a better season overall than Verstappen?

  5. Keith any reason why some have quotes from the comments and others don’t? Are we that bad that we couldn’t give a word of praise to each of them? Shame on you people.

    Good news is, we have Vandoorne behind us, so now we will only complain when Alonso comes up on the ranking and there is a phrase that goes like this: “Comprehensively beat a highly regarded teammate, with junior formula pedigree in Stoffel Vandoorne””.

    I will agree with Kevin the balls Magnunssen ranking. Smooth sailing from now on

  6. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    12th December 2018, 10:00

    Why would we give a verdict on Nico Hulkenberg in an article about K Mag. 🤔

    1. @ftruth It’s for future article. So RaceFans can quote your verdict on Nico Hulkenberg there. Just to give more reader view in advance as state by @johnmilk.

      1. @ruliemaulana I think it was a mistake from Keith, on the others he asks for our opinion of the driver being ranked, not another one.

        It worries my a bit that we might see Hulk next in #12 that would be way too low for the season he had

        1. I really should use emoticon. Sorry, bro…

  7. What’s your verdict on Nico Hulkenberg’s 2018 season?

    He was probably better than Magnussen. I do agree with this ranking. Haas should have been best of the rest, but their drivers let them down. Grosjean was horrible at the beginning of the season and Magnussen was very average in the second half of the season. I was really surprised Haas didn’t change their driver line-up.

    1. It seems after MAG leapfrogged ALO in the queue in qualifying at Monaza and was run off the road by the latter ruining his lap, MAG went downhill and never recovered.
      Possibly karma for not respecting his elders😀

    2. Haas should have been best of the rest, but their drivers let them down.

      Let’s not forget only the wheelnut-eh-case in Albert park combined with the bargeboard disqualification at Monza could theoretically have meant Hass as best of the rest. I tend to believe a lesser budget and thereof quality of personel/experience surrounding the drivers at Hass had a greater impact than anything Magnussen did or didnt do. Had Hass had the money/engineering to keep developing over the season like Renault, things would have looked different.
      All of course purely speculation but being a Dane, i think Magnussen had a strong season :)

  8. I wonder how people would rank him if Grosjean had a better first part of the season (as in, not hopeless) and if he had less of a big mouth/got into less scrapes. Not a convincing driver at all – the level of the top 13 in F1 is very, very good right now indeed: he’s the first of the not good.

    1. @hahostolze

      I agree. If Grosjean had performed better in the first half of the season, I reckon Magnussen would have placed lower. At the end of the day he had the quickest midfield car and his finishing position really didn’t reflect it. I just don’t see why people think he had such a strong season.

  9. Ahead of Romain thanks to the “Well done guys ******* hell” team radio back in Bahrain.

  10. Find myself disagreeing with these rankings quite a bit this year

  11. Magnussen only 1 place ahead of Vandoorm in this ranking?

  12. Magnussen deserves a higher ranking that this.

  13. First half of the season the Haas car was understeering (Magnussens favorite) and second half the car was very oversteering (Grosjeans favorite).
    This fact is acknowledged by the team!
    The last 2 races Magnussen catched up on Grosjean to a dif of about 0.5 sec but was told by teamorder to back off.
    Because everybody inside and outside the team know that Grosjean would have crashed them both out if Magnussen was allowed to overtake.

    Its a bit strange that some Grosjean fanboys have to use “arguments” like “what if Grosjean had a better first part of the season” – how (low) would you have rated Magnussen then?
    What a joke – because Grosjean wasnt able to have “a better first part” :-)
    No Grosjean was driving so lousy that he was very close to being fired from the team.
    Eventhough he was principally using the same car as as Magnussen – so…

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