Charles Leclerc says he does not understand why Formula 1 rival Kevin Magnussen was not penalised for a “dangerous” move which led to contact during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Sauber driver branded Magnussen “stupid” after the pair collided when the Dane suddenly jerked to the right as Leclerc attempted a pass along the start-finish straight with the duo squabbling over position.

Magnussen received a puncture after his Haas was hit from behind before he later retired, while Leclerc suffered front wing damage and was forced into an early pit stop that compounded his race.

The collision was investigated by the Suzuka race stewards but they opted against issuing a penalty having found no driver predominantly to blame.

“Magnussen is and will always be stupid. It’s a fact. A shame,” Leclerc said over team radio in the direct aftermath of the incident.

“For me, there was a similar situation with Kimi and Max one or two years ago in Spa where Max [Verstappen] moved at the really last moment and everyone agreed it was dangerous to do that and that it was not allowed anymore,” he later explained after the race.

“Strangely it’s been accepted today so I will have to get some response on that to just to know what I can do in the car.”

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur told Channel 4: “The race was short thanks to Mr. Magnussen. The stewards took the decision and we respect the decision but I have the feeling from the pitwall that it was a bit dangerous.”

Magnussen refused to start pointing fingers, adding: “I passed Charles around the outside of 130R, then through the last chicane he kept close and slip-streamed down the main straight.

“I went to the right, I think he followed for a bit and then went back to the left and clipped my left-rear tire, causing the puncture,''

"It's unfortunate, but that's what happens sometimes. The tyre delaminated and ripped all the floor. It damaged the rear wing, the brake ducts, etc., so we had to retire."

However, Haas boss Gunther Steiner felt Leclerc was solely to blame for the incident.

"He [Leclerc] ran into him. He ran into him,” Steiner stressed.

"Kevin didn't brake. He didn't push him off or anything, Kevin just moved over to his line and he ran into him. What can he do? Just let him by?"

"It was before the braking point. It was not under braking. He needs to judge what he can do and what he cannot.

"[Magnussen] didn't run into the side of him, he was clearly in front because he could move in in front of him."

Magnussen has received criticism for his aggressive defensive driving throughout the season, while Steiner has often come to the Dane’s defence.

When asked if he felt Magnussen is being singled out as an easy target, Steiner replied: “"Absolutely. It's more of the same.

“I'm getting quite tired of this. If they have a problem with him just blame him for it because it's quite normal."



Loading Comments...