Kevin Magnussen says only Nico Hulkenberg complained to him about his aggressive driving during races in 2017, and believes a lack of penalties shows he got the balance right.
Having joined Haas from Renault last winter, Magnussen enjoyed a strong first season with the newest team on the grid, finishing in the top eight on four occasions and ending the year one place behind teammate Romain Grosjean in the drivers’ championship. However, the Dane came in for criticism for his aggressive driving at times, with Hulkenberg approaching him during post-race interviews in Budapest after being pushed off the track when trying to overtake Magnussen.
Asked if many drivers have spoken to him about his driving, Magnussen replied: “No – apart from Hulkenberg.
“It’s been a bit strange this year, a lot of people complain and I haven’t got that many penalties. I must be doing something right; that’s how I see it.”
Magnussen picked up a total of six penalty points during 2017, receiving a five-second time penalty in races on three occasions as well as a three-place grid drop for impeding during qualifying.
Admitting he has struggled more in qualifying than he has in races over the past year, Magnussen says his mindset has been to be aggressive at the start of the race in order to try and make up ground early on.
“My approach this year was to give everything on the first lap otherwise you’re not going to be anywhere,” he says. “If you find yourself P16 on the first lap, then it’s gonna be a long race. You have to give everything and take chances. You might sometimes not get it right, but often this year I’ve got it right on the first lap. From there, you have to fight everything you have.
“Who cares? Nothing to lose. If you don’t get a point, you might as well not start the race, that’s all we are here to do. I am not here to finish outside the points.”