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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Haas concedes Magnussen should have let Tsunoda pass in Saudi F1 GP

Haas Formula 1 team principal Ayao Komatsu accepts Kevin Magnussen should have let Yuki Tsunoda pass in Jeddah after overtaking him off the track, but he praised his defensive teamwork.

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 battles with Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24

Magnussen's own Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was ruined by incurring an initial 10-second penalty for contact with Alex Albon in the Williams.

His focus then shifted to holding up others so team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who hadn't stopped under an early safety car, could pull out a gap and claim 10th. Crucial to that strategy was overtaking the RB of Yuki Tsunoda on lap 17, which Magnussen did by leaving the track.

Instead of giving the position back to Tsunoda, Magnussen opted to cop an additional, largely irrelevant 10-second penalty, which allowed him to keep blocking his rivals so Hulkenberg could pit and come out ahead of him and secure a valuable point.

RB slammed the move as "unsportsmanlike" and said it would raise the issue with the FIA.

For this season the FIA had already increased the penalty for this gaining an advantage while leaving the track from five to 10 seconds to deter drivers from choosing to get penalised in a bid to gain track position.

And while it technically worked for Magnussen, whose own race was wrecked, that didn't stop him from aiding his team-mate.

Haas chief Komatsu accepted that Magnussen "should have just given the place back" and tried to get past the Japanese driver again, which he believes the Dane had the pace for.

"I believe at that point in the race, if I remember the projection very well, we are fighting with Tsunoda for P10," Komatsu said.

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"Of course, we should have given the place back, we should have tried to overtake him. I believe with our pace we could have done that.

"So, I think the end result we are still looking for P10. Whether we could have achieved it is another story."

Commenting on the incident, Magnussen said: "I overtook Tsunoda and went outside to track, so rules are rules.

"I'm not happy with myself to get those two penalties, but at least I was able to help the team to create a gap for Nico to pit and get a point.

"It's a tight battle between the five teams at the back. From P6 down to 10th it's a real championship, so every point matters."

Komatsu praised Magnussen for making his car "the widest Haas F1 car you've seen for a long time" as he battled to keep Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon's Alpine and Albon behind, while being asked to drive much slower laptimes than Hulkenberg was doing to give the German a pit window.

Once Tsunoda did appear to get past at the start of Lap 29, Magnussen re-passed him with an audacious move around the outside of Turn 1.

"I thought: 'Okay, that's gone...' And then Kevin just sent it on the outside in Turn 1. Amazing, amazing job," Komatsu commented.

"We told him [to do laps] around 1m36 and he was doing 36.2, 36.2, 36.2... That's the widest Haas F1 car you've seen for a long time."

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