Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Albert Park, 2019

2019 F1 driver rankings #14: Kevin Magnussen

2019 F1 season review

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Kevin Magnussen’s performances fluctuated during 2019, though not to the same extremes as Haas’s highly sensitive and inconsistent car. Put those two together and it’s not easy to get the measure of exactly how well he did this year.

In terms of raw race results, Magnussen got slightly more out of the VF-19 than Romain Grosjean. While his team mate was sometimes unlucky, Magnussen rose above the car’s shortcomings more convincingly, and sometimes as Grosjean’s expense.

Magnussen held the upper hand in qualifying, but threw away chances for better starting positions in Canada and Japan by crashing. Grosjean, despite his inferior reliability, finished ahead more regularly.

But Magnussen capitalised on the car when it was at its best. That was why he ended the year with more points. He finished first among the midfielders twice, which Grosjean never managed. Another substantial points haul would have followed in Monaco, but for a strategic error by the team.

Kevin Magnussen

Beat team mate in qualifying13/20
Beat team mate in race5/13
Races finished18/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate449/1025
Qualifying margin-0.08s

Magnussen’s zeal for wheel-to-wheel racing let him down at times, particularly when scrapping with his own team mate, which cost both of them dearly at Silverstone. The same could be said of his disdain for the finer details of the regulations, where an avoidable slip-up diluted his score in Russia.

That said, he was downright unlucky in Singapore, grafting away for a points finish until a Safety Car period and overheating brakes due to a plastic bag ruined his race. A more straightforward braking problem in Austin also spoiled his afternoon.

Magnussen’s performances in the second half of the year weren’t as peaky as his team mate’s in either respect – his lows weren’t as bad but he didn’t hit the same heights either. While Haas’s car clearly let both the team’s racers down this year, it’s not had to see why some feel there’s room for improvement in its driver line-up as well.

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Over to you

What’s your verdict on Kevin Magnussen’s 2019 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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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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17 comments on “2019 F1 driver rankings #14: Kevin Magnussen”

  1. I don’t get it, even this review is mainly dedicated to how Magnussen wasn’t too impressive this year, but somehow he was still better than Hulkenberg? I would love to at least hear the reasoning for this decision, as it’s completely baffling for me. It’s hard to imagine that Magnuseen would have done better in that Renault, or that Hulkenberg would have done worse in that Haas.

    1. Maybe we get another full comment section on how unjust it is to have Hulkenberg behind Magnussen.
      And I agree with all those comments (even when put here).

      1. #justiceforhulk

    2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      16th December 2019, 8:36

      @mashiat – It’s hard to imagine that Magnuseen would have done better in that Renault, or that Hulkenberg would have done worse in that Haas.

      You have to realize that this rating system isn’t about who would’ve done what in whatever car. This rating system is about who extracted the most out of the car given to them, consistently. Especially when compared to their teammate.

      While Hulkenburg did have some ups, he absolutely junked some of his best potential finishes, which likely hurt his rating A LOT. Hulk was also thoroughly beaten by Ricciardo, who did a lot less “throwing away of results” than Hulk did. Mean while, Magnussen really didn’t throw away anything worthwhile, but did have a few good finishes, and definitely had the better of his teammate over the course of the season.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        16th December 2019, 8:47

        Also to continue, Magnussen is the lowest ranked driver who beat their teammate. Seems pretty fair.

        1. Good point indeed.

        2. I’d rate running Ricciardo close as the same as nominally beating Grosgean.

        3. @braketurnaccelerate, beaten in terms of points, but as Keith himself notes in this article, Magnussen usually finished behind Grosjean even with Grosjean being more frequently hit by mechanical issues. If he “definitely had the better of his teammate over the course of the season”, as you assert, then why was Grosjean normally finishing ahead of Magnussen?

          Equally, if it had been Magnussen and not Grosjean who’d retired from the Australian GP due to that mistake in the pits by Haas, and Grosjean had instead picked up the 8 points on offer for 6th, Grosjean would have finished ahead of Magnussen in the WDC.

          A single result, and one that was outside of the influence of the drivers, would have completely flipped the final result in the WDC at the end of the season. Would we still say that Magnussen was the better driver if he’d been the one who retired from the Australian GP and Grosjean had inherited his 6th place finish, and with it reversed their positions in the WDC, when considering all of the other statistics about his performance this season?

          I can’t help but feel that if we’d seen Magnussen retire and Grosjean score in Australia, Magnussen would have been rated lower and Grosjean would have been rated higher – even though it would have really been nothing more than a reflection of the luck of one driver and the misfortune of the other.

    3. Maybe its because Hulk just was pretty meh this year..? Basically the only times i took notice of him was when he was
      -crashing in germany
      -getting told to not hold Ricciardo up
      -being generally mopey

    4. I agree, I also find this a bit strange @mashiat

  2. Hans Rudolf Pedersen
    16th December 2019, 8:09

    I think that Magnussen probably is one of the best and fastest drivers in the entire f1 field. He has shown that with some fantastic overtakes i his career, ex by Charles Leclerc at Suzuka 2018 and felipe Massa in 2017. He has repeatedly qualified the Haas F1 car at the top of the middle field. People also forget how good a rookie season he really had at Mclaren in 2014. To end your first race at the podium says it all…

  3. If you ignore driver names on this ranking list, P14 for Magnussen sounds pretty fair. It’s pretty much in the middle of “meh” territory: not horrible like Kubica’s season, but nothing like Sainz’s performances either. Perfectly forgettable.

  4. It’s really hard to judge Kevin’s performance this year… The car was a dog especially in the races, the pace was always dropping like a rock no matter how far up on the grid they started. And because of this extreme fluctuation, we can only compare him to his teammate, who’s not the highest benchmark out-there.

    I’ve seen all the races this season – sometimes even watched the full race replays – and I honestly don’t remember Magnussen doing anything interesting (good or bad). Usually, he’s kind of a loose gun, but this season he looked a bit more mature.

  5. It’s hard to judge the performance not knowing exactly what the Haas was doing on each weekend. I kinda see the point of contention if Hulk should be higher than MAG, but then again, they both had forgettable seasons and only one ended without a contract, so.

  6. On average probably a tenth below Hulkenberg, but atleast he had a few standout moments, so I agree with his position but I can’t deny that my opinion of him has got a few a dents over the season .

  7. No mention is made of Kevin having the Fastest Lap at Singapore. He should have been given a point for that.

  8. Quite an unimpressive season from Kmag. Honestly, couldn’t think of any noteworthy moments from him this year.. I think Keith has flattered him slightly in the rankings. I would put him closer to Kvyat and Giovinazzi in the rankings… a couple of notches below Gasly and Hulkenberg.

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