Like their drivers Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso, both Haas F1 Team and McLaren bosses Guenther Steiner and Zak Brown felt either drivers should have lifted off to avoid the Q2 incident in Italian GP at Monza.
The clash took place towards the end of Q2 at Monza during Italian GP’s qualifying when both Magnussen and Alonso were starting their second flying lap to find a place in Q3. However, neither of them made it after their laps were ruined in Turn 1.
The bigger loser among the two was Magnussen who had the pace to be in Q3. The incident started on their build-up lap when Magnussen went past Alonso in the pack before Parabolica to start the lap ahead of the Spaniard.
However, Alonso stayed on with him on the start/finish line and used the slipstream to tackle Magnussen in Turn 1, eventually going ahead but both ended up destroying their laps with the Haas finishing 11th and the McLaren in 13th.
The Dane was left annoyed and lashed out on ‘God-like’ Alonso in his media briefing – even to the extent of stating that he cannot wait for him to retire at the end of the season. The Spaniard chose not to respond the Dane’s call.
Earlier in fact, Alonso agreed that Magnussen lost out the most in the fight as 13th was a ‘miracle’ result for the McLaren driver. “It was a strange situation,” he said. “We were all together in that lap, trying to find a gap between the cars.
“In the inside of Parabolica, he decided to overtake me and fill the gap that I had between me and the car in front. Parabolica is the corner when you launch for the quick lap and we both started accelerating at the same time.
“Together we arrived at Turn 1 and we both lost the lap [then]. For me, it didn’t change much because I think the performance of the car is where I am but for him definitely it was a shame because I think he had the Q3 potential and he lost that possibility.”
While Alonso states it was inside of Parabolica, Steiner though confirmed Magnussen passed him before the corner. The Italian though felt the whole incident was unnecessary in the end as it only damaged both their laps.
He added that Alonso should have lifted off when he saw Magnussen in the position for a better lap instead of going for the move in Turn 1 and ruining the laps. Steiner also had a chat with Brown in the pitlane just after the Q2 ended.
“It [the talk] was about that incident with Alonso,” he said after qualifying. “[We agreed] there is no winner out of this, as a matter of fact, was it really necessary that we always end up like this?
“I know that between the two of them [drivers] they are in big favour to get involved in that but it is like…I don’t think Kevin did anything wrong. Was it really needed? We were having a good day [and] an interesting fight, then we do something silly like this.
“There is no need for that. I think Alonso should have lifted off when he saw ‘I am getting too close to Kevin in Turn 1, I cannot overtake him anyway’ – at least don’t ruin his day. My one is done anyway.
“I think he started too close, got in the slipstream, got in too fast and then decided to overtake him. It is always easier to go back and say, ‘Kevin should have waited for Alonso’. I mean then his tyres go cold and it was early enough for both of them to go fast.
“For sure, Alonso has got a different opinion then us. In the end, we aren’t complaining because we are still starting 11th which isn’t a bad position but it could be so much more if you see what Romain did.
“Kevin was not slower than the whole weekend. [These things] makes the sport interesting but we should avoid ruining each other’s results [this way]. Zak said he needs to look at [the replays]. Obviously, he didn’t want to argue with me at that point.
“So, he took the statesman position and said I need to look at it and that I didn’t really see it. I normally get on very well with Zak, so it is not a problem, it is just racing,” he summed up. At the same time, Brown was a little defensive having not looked at the data much.
“I have not looked at the data but I have looked at the replay,” he started. “In qualifying you shouldn’t be racing. Obviously, Fernando was on a hot lap, I am not sure how they ended up side by side through a corner.
“Only those two on the track will know exactly what happened but Kevin seems to at times have his share of driver disputes but that’s racing. We are all fighting hard for the positions but the incident is behind us, not much of a big deal.
“In qualifying everyone wants to space out, Fernando felt he needed to get by him, I think at that point, Kevin could have backed out of it and both [then] saved their lap. Ultimately, nothing was accomplished because they both lost their lap, meaningless.”
When reminded about Magnussen’s and Alonso’s French GP battle, Brown admitted it could have played a role as he thought the ‘drivers have big memories’. He then joked that he and Steiner can have a beer together but not the two drivers, perhaps.