British Grand Prix – Haas’ Kevin Magnussen & Romain Grosjean made contact with each other on the first lap of the race at Silverstone, costing both men time, positions and bodywork.
The two Haas drivers lined up alongside each other on the fourth row of the grid for Sunday’s race, with Magnussen P7 & Grosjean P8. Making clean initial getaways, the pair left each other room through the first two turns before making contact at Turn 3. The incident was very similar to the one that unfolded between Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes & Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari ahead of them on track, with Grosjean making contact with the right rear of Magnussen’s Haas at the apex. Unlike Hamilton, Magnussen’s hit was along the right rear floor and he was able to keep the car pointing straight and switch to go around the outside of Hamilton’s sideways Mercedes.
Resuming the track, Magnussen fell down to P10, with Grosjean down to P13 and both with minor damage. There wasn’t enough damage to necessitate a pitstop, meaning the two drivers were able to continue with their planned one stop strategies.
This resulted in Grosjean coming under attack from Renault’s Carlos Sainz for P11 after the Safety Car on Lap 37. Armed with fresher tyres after pitting for fresh rubber, Sainz got around the outside of the Haas for the sweep into Copse. A wobble from Grosjean’s front end as he battled the loss of downforce from the Renault being in front of him meant he was helpless to stop his car hitting Sainz, pitching both off at high speed into the gravel. The incident was investigated, with no further action taken.
“At the beginning of the race with Kevin, I think it was a mistake from both of us.” said Grosjean of his part in the intra-team battle. “It shouldn’t happen, so we need to work on that to ensure it doesn’t happy anymore. That obviously cost us a lot of positions on the first corner. After that, with Carlos (Sainz), I haven’t studied the footage, to be fair. It felt like he turned in quite hard on the corner and didn’t give me much room on the inside. I tried to go on the brake to avoid a contact, but there was not much room for me to go. It’s a shame.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner wasn’t particularly happy, despite Kevin Magnussen succeeding in getting his car home in P9 to score valuable points: “We should go away from here happier and with more points. I think we lost quite a few points. We need to go away and evaluate what actually happened at turn one and avoid this for the future. This is obviously not acceptable because we keep on losing points while having a good car. I think we just need to go sit down and see what we can do to come away better, or at least where we should be. In the end, we’re not going home empty handed. The guys can be proud of what they achieved. In the end, we have two points. Three points-scoring finishes in a row is pretty good, but I wouldn’t say I’m ecstatic about it, as it should be a lot more.”