Kevin Magnussen suggested Nyck de Vries’ driving in their latest Formula 1 clash in the Austrian Grand Prix showed he is in a “desperate situation” and clearly “racing for his future”.
Magnussen and De Vries already came to blows last time out at the Canadian GP when their tight Turn 1/2 tussle was followed by De Vries locking up into Turn 3 and taking them both down the escape road.
That incident was shrugged off by Magnussen who candidly admitted “who I am to complain?” about some hard racing.
But the duo came together not once but twice more at the Red Bull Ring.
Their initial incident involved Magnussen trying to pass De Vries at the Turn 4 right-hander and finding no room on the exit.
The stewards noted this incident and declared no investigation was necessary but took a dimmer view of De Vries forcing Magnussen off the track at Turn 6, saying Magnussen was “clearly level and then in front of De Vries” so he should have been given “racing room”.
De Vries was handed a five second penalty, a decision Magnussen agreed with after the race while making reference to De Vries’ precarious career situation. He is understood to be at risk of losing his AlphaTauri seat to Liam Lawson before the end of the season. The penalty did not affect his 15th-place finish. Magnussen was 19th and last.
“He got a penalty, right? So he did push me off but he’s, I guess, racing for his future,” Magnussen said.
“Maybe in a bit of a desperate situation so nothing I can say really.
“He got a penalty, it is what it is.”
De Vries declined to share his view of the personal incident, instead accepting and deferring to the stewards’ judgement.
“We [Magnussen and I] happen to like each other when it comes to meeting each other on track but I think it was hard racing, I’ll take the penalty,” he said.
“Not my entitlement to judge on that. Stewards gave me a penalty and we took it. Thankfully for us we made a sufficient gap to not lose any positions.”
When The Race asked if his perspective was that it’s just racing, De Vries dismissed his own view as “a little bit irrelevant”.
He continued: “I’m not the person who decides whether I should get a penalty for it or not.
“We race hard, trying to find the limits and sometimes just beyond and sometimes below.”
De Vries appeared to hint that he believes there are inconsistencies over how similar incidents are judged and said you have to push to the limit of the racing rules.
“I mean these situations they happen with Yuki [Tsunoda] and [Guanyu] Zhou, with Max [Verstappen] and Carlos [Sainz], they happen all the time. each situation is judged slightly differently and it’s not so black and white,” he explained.
“Obviously we understand the rule but you’ve got to push to the limit of the rules to make sure you don’t lose out and sometimes you go beyond and sometimes you undershoot.”
De Vries was also given two penalty his points, the first of his brief F1 career so far.