Kevin Magnussen has downplayed his clash with Haas teammate Romain Grosjean at the Spanish Grand Prix and said it was a consequence of two drivers fighting hard for position.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner held clear-the-air talks between Magnussen and Grosjean after they clashed while fighting for seventh position late in the race. Grosjean was forced across the run-off area at Turn 1 on two occasions, the second after light contact with Magnussen, and then dropped down the order from eighth to tenth in the closing laps.
Radio messages released afterwards revealed Steiner had messaged Magnussen first, saying: « Kevin, the first one to come and see me [after the race], please. » The same messages revealed Steiner urging Grosjean to stay calm and that he would deal with the situation.
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Magnussen downplayed the stern tone displayed by Steiner, who has gained something of a cult status among fans due to the colourful language he displayed on F1’s Netflix series, ‘Drive to Survive’.
« You know, Guenther always sounds angry » Magnussen joked. « It’s normal. No matter what he says, even if he is wishing you happy birthday! »
The Danish driver reiterated what Steiner himself said on Sunday evening that the situation was resolved.
« There is no problems, it’s all fine. I’m sure there were some heated radio messages in the race but we are fighting hard for position and there was a bit of contact, but it is what it is.
« There are no problems at all.We got seven points on Sunday and that’s the most we have had since Australia, so it was a good day all round. »
When asked about his role in the incident, Magnussen said he did not feel like he had caused Grosjean’s drop down the order.
« When we touched, do you think it was my mistake? That’s what you’ve got to look at. I was on the white line on the inside when we touched, so I don’t know.
« At the end of the day nothing happened between us. I got P7 and scored six points, he scored one point but could have scored more, he had the pace, but didn’t for different reasons.
« It wasn’t what happened between me and him that meant we didn’t score more points. He went off and came back on track behind me and then lost positions to other people, so it’s not that I pushed him off the track and then he lost a lot of positions — that didn’t happen.
« We were fighting hard but it looked harder than it was because we had contact on that Safety Car restart, which I don’t see what I could have done different and I don’t think he intended to … I think it was a bit of misjudgement and there were a lot of cars around and these things can happen on a Safety Car restart or on lap one.
« After that there was no contact. It looked worse because he went off the track and around the bollard and all that, but at the end of the day, he came back right behind me and then laps after he lost positions. »