Magnussen backs Vettel and Renault over Chinese GP Q3 mess

Kevin Magnussen believes Sebastian Vettel and the Renault Formula 1 drivers "did the right thing" in controversially passing Max Verstappen in the dying seconds of Chinese Grand Prix qualifying

Magnussen backs Vettel and Renault over Chinese GP Q3 mess

Red Bull driver Verstappen was left furious after failing to cross the start/finish line in time to complete his final Q3 flying lap, having been overtaken by Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.

The Dutchman argued drivers have an unwritten rule to not overtake each other during the warm-up lap, and claimed his rivals had "fucked up my entire build-up".

Magnussen was another driver to fail to make it in time to start his final flyer, but said afterwards he felt Vettel and the Renaults were right to speed up.

"It was pretty messy so at the end of the lap everyone was trying to, I guess, get started, but also have somebody in front," Magnussen said. "So it ended up being too much and cost a few guys the lap.

"Everyone also went out of the pits at exactly the same time. We were following each other and towards the end of the lap you didn't know whether to try and overtake people, which in that case they are going to defend."

When asked by Autosport about Verstappen's complaints over Vettel and the Renault duo, Magnussen said: "In the end, if they got the lap, then they did the right thing."

The Dane, who will start ninth ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean, said he decided against trying to overtake his rivals because he felt it would have been counterproductive.

"I didn't want to be an arsehole," Magnussen joked. "You know what I mean. We are racing. I didn't attack anyone not because I'm a gentleman, but because I thought my chances would be pretty poor of actually getting past people because people don't want you to get past and it's just messy.

"I don't want to screw anyone. I don't see any point in that. I try to do my own thing and try to do a good qualifying for myself and I would never try to screw anyone just for the hell of it."

Ricciardo suggested that had he not passed Verstappen, he would not have made it before time ran out.

"I think I passed the line with maybe a second or less," said Ricciardo, who beat Renault team-mate Hulkenberg to seventh on the grid.

"I saw the red light as I was passing it, so it was close.

"I don't know if the others weren't getting the information but my engineer was saying 'it's going to be tight, you need to go'.

"I just don't think the others were getting the same information because they were taking their time, a few of them."

He added that the time pressure meant drivers' usual protocol for working around each other on qualifying laps had to be shelved.

"[My engineer] told me there was 20 seconds to go already a while ago, I was like 'I can't wait anymore I've got to go'," Ricciardo continued.

"I saw Nico pass me and he passed Max. He had some urgency. So I've got to do the same or I'm not going to get my lap. I had to pass Max and start the lap.

"A lot of the time there's a bit of a gentleman's agreement, last corner, everyone prepares their lap and you kind of hold your position. You try not to screw anyone intentionally."

Hulkenberg said he could see traffic would be bad when leaving the pits and was just making sure he could get his lap in.

"Actually I wasn't aware it was that tight, to be honest," he said. "But I could see it leaving the pitlane, I could tell it was going to bunch up at the end.

"I had the Mercedes in front of me, Ferraris were pushing already behind, overtaking me early on, then a whole lot of other cars were pushing up behind, so I could tell it was going to happen.

"And I made sure towards the end of the lap that I got ahead and did not run into trouble."

shares
comments
Surprise passes in Chinese GP Q3 prompted Verstappen to block Gasly

Previous article

Surprise passes in Chinese GP Q3 prompted Verstappen to block Gasly

Next article

Haas explains its 'play with fire' failed Chinese GP Q3 strategy

Haas explains its 'play with fire' failed Chinese GP Q3 strategy
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel , Kevin Magnussen
Teams Renault F1 Team
Author Adam Cooper
The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021 Plus

The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Plus

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Plus

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The big F1 questions of 2021 Plus

The big F1 questions of 2021

After an unprecedented season last year, there are plenty of questions and storylines for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok gives his verdict

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Plus

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz Jr in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new team-mate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021
The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso Plus

The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso

OPINION: It's been an uneasy ride for Esteban Ocon since his F1 comeback - and fresh challenges lie in wait as he's joined by double world champion Fernando Alonso in the newly rebranded Alpine team. STUART CODLING sets out a roadmap to success

Formula 1
Feb 28, 2021
How McLaren’s new investors have already made an impact Plus

How McLaren’s new investors have already made an impact

OPINION: The deal McLaren concluded with MSP Sports Capital last year which will help the cash-strapped Formula 1 team pay for much-needed infrastructure upgrades, also points toward the future for F1 itself, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Feb 27, 2021
Why Verstappen isn't interested in hyping up Red Bull Plus

Why Verstappen isn't interested in hyping up Red Bull

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

Formula 1
Feb 26, 2021