Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he was willing for Kevin Magnussen to pick up a penalty in his battle with Daniel Ricciardo after a warning from race control during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Magnussen was trying to hold off Ricciardo in a fight for 13th place; the Renault having been the only car to start on the hard tire and switch to softs for the latter stages of the race. That pace advantage meant Ricciardo could attack into Turn 1 on a number of occasions and Magnussen was warned about how late he was moving in defense, but Steiner says he felt race control was being overly sensitive.
“Race control said he has to stop to move under braking, but that was it,” Steiner said. “There is another driver who does it all the time and gets away with it, so that was our answer.
“I think we had a good battle going on for 13th and 14th, otherwise TV was pretty boring, so… we decided risking even a penalty or getting to the stewards, because I think in the end we are here to race, and I don’t think it was dangerous or anything.
“The battle was about nothing anyway, so at least it was a good show. And I think they had a good fight. For sure, Ricciardo is not happy about it, but I don’t think Kevin did anything exaggerated. He was trying to keep his position, so I think everybody enjoyed it.”
Romain Grosjean had run in the top 10 for the first part of the race but then dropped from contention after fitting the hard compound before retiring, and Steiner admitted that the slightly improved race pace was still overshadowed by tire struggles.
“It was tough, but we cannot say it was too bad in the end,” he said. “I mean, I still haven’t understood those tires, that the hard one doesn’t last as long as the soft one, and it’s all over the place. I think there will be a lot of questions asked on that one; we need to analyze it.
“I don’t want to jump to a conclusion, but Kevin on C4 (softs) wasn’t slow. So it is very weird – the whole thing – to me still for what is actually going on. Romain lost the place to (Kimi) Raikkonen, because he got stuck behind (Pierre) Gasly. That only can happen to us. Gasly had a bad start, we got stuck behind him, and the other car goes by. For sure it wasn’t the race we wanted, but we need to see where we go from here.“