Charles Leclerc hits out at 'stupid' Kevin Magnussen as FIA explains decision
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc has criticised Kevin Magnussen for a “stupid” move during the early stages of Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Leclerc was challenging Magnussen for position along the main straight but the pair collided, resulting in a left-rear puncture for the Dane, and a Safety Car period to clear tyre debris.
Leclerc ultimately retired later in the race due to a mechanical failure but slated his opponent for his actions.
“Magnussen is, and will always be, stupid,” he told the official F1 website.
“For me, there was a similar situation with Kimi and Max… in Spa [in 2016].
“[That was] where Max moved at the really last moment and everyone agreed that it was dangerous to do that and that it was not allowed anymore.
“But strangely it has been accepted today so I will have to get some response on that [from the stewards] to just know what I can do in the car.”
Magnussen added that “I went to the right and I think he followed for a bit and then went back to the left. It’s unfortunate but that’s what happens sometimes.”
Stewards investigated the clash but deemed no further action was necessary, with FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting later explaining the reasoning.
“It was quite an interesting one actually,” said Whiting. “It was in two bits as you know, on the straight and then in the corner. He got the puncture in the first one.
“And if you analyse it very, very carefully, what you see is two cars coming down with Kevin not moving, and then Charles catches, catches, catches, he decides to go to the right, and at exactly the same time, on the video, one frame, there’s one frame difference, then Kevin moves.
“I think it’s impossible to say that Kevin blocked him, it was just he made the decision that he was going to go right, fractionally after Charles had.
“You had to look at it quite a few times and analyse it in little detail to see that, but I think that it’s just unfortunate, and that’s what the stewards felt.”