F1 Haas driver Kevin Magnussen may not have been anywhere near the top of the grid at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix, but the Dane won in other ways.
Perhaps it’s a deliberate move made by Liberty Media to humanize the drivers, or perhaps it was just a heat-of-the-moment retort that got the better of Magnussen during an interview – but in either case, the Dane has shown that there are sharper edges under that cuddly man-bear exterior.
Leaving for Hungary later today. Hungaroring is a pretty tough circuit. There’s not many straights, so you’re constantly working because there’s always a corner. It’s a bit like a go-kart track. It’s a tough circuit because you never get a break, plus it’s hot. I think it’s a fun track to drive. I’m looking very much forward to it! ?? #KM20 #HungarianGP
For those that might be unware, Magnussen has come under fire by certain members of the press and media after he let loose on a snarky Nico Hulkenberg, retorting with a “Suck my balls, mate” after Hulkeberg sarcastically congratulated him on being the “most unsporting driver” in the sport once again, presumably referencing the penalty Magnussen incurred after forcing Nico wide at Turn 2.
The entire altercation lasted less than several seconds, and Hulkenberg didn’t stick around much longer following Magnussen’s comment. He quickly peeled away from Kevin and began Skulkenberging his way back to a group of reporters, leaving the Dane visibly flustered.
It took no time for others to jump down Magnussen’s throat over the comments, but he was instantly bolstered by the likes of Haas team principal Gunther Steiner, who wasted no time questioning the deft display of linguistics displayed by his driver:
“It’s the right way to say it. Why would he say anything else?
He got a penalty, if he [Hulkenberg] thinks he [Magnussen] needs more [of a penalty], then he [Hulkenberg] needs to look at his Turn 1 incident.
Is it sporting to run into Romain? I mean, he [Hulkenberg] is a bully and he got away a long time with it and maybe now it’s time that somebody stands up to him. He’s a good driver, he doesn’t need to be like this.” – Gunther Steiner
It’s one thing for a spat to occur out on the track, but Hulkenberg’s decision to add some insult to injury at the press junket of all places was just asking for a retort the likes of which he received.
It doesn’t seem very likely that Magnussen will be reprimanded for his choice of words, given that it appears Nico goaded him into it. It does, however, raise the question of what the relationship between the Haas and Renault driver will be like in the future. One could suppose they’re lucky that the incident occurred right before the summer break, and the likelihood of both parties returned refreshed with cooled heads is very high.
Then again, we would be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit that watching a Magnussen vs. Hulkenberg rivalry unfold would add an incredible dramatic flair to the latter half of the 2017 season.
Did you hear that Chase Carey? Get your little pot-stirring goblins on the case and let’s see us some good ol’ fashioned fisticuff fireworks.