Charles Leclerc has labelled Kevin Magnussen as “stupid” after the pair collided during the Japanese Grand Prix.
Leclerc was attacking Magnussen down the start-finish straight on lap four at Suzuka. In a bid to defend, Magnussen quickly moved right to block Leclerc from going down the inside into Turn 1 causing the Sauber to hit the back of the Haas, leaving Magnussen with a puncture.
Leclerc also came off the incident with damage, leaving the Ferrari-bound driver fuming over team radio.
“Magnussen is and will always be stupid. It’s a fact. A shame,” Leclerc said over team radio.
It’s not the first time a driver has criticised Magnussen’s defensive tactics with Pierre Gasly labelling the Dane as the ”most dangerous” rival of his career after the pair’s contact at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, while Fernando Alonso and Magnussen have had several run-ins throughout the 2018 season. Leclerc was surprised the stewards decided not to take action again Magnussen given the fact the FIA had clamped down on late defensive moves in previous seasons, citing a similar incident between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix.
“For me, there was a similar situation with Kimi and Max one or two years ago in Spa where Max moved at the really last moment and everyone agreed it was dangerous to do that and that it was not allowed anymore,” Leclerc added. “Strangely it’s been accepted today so I will have to get some response on that to just to know what I can do in the car.”
When asked for his thoughts on the incident, Magnussen refused to get caught up in who was to blame for the incident stating ”that’s what happens sometimes.”
“Well, I passed Charles around the outside of 130R, then through the last chicane he kept close and slip-streamed down the main straight. I went to the right, I think he followed for a bit and then went back to the left and clipped my left-rear tire, causing the puncture,” Magnussen said after the race.
“It’s unfortunate, but that’s what happens sometimes. The tyre delaminated and ripped all the floor. It damaged the rear wing, the brake ducts, etc., so we had to retire.”
However, Haas boss Guenther Steiner was adamant that his driver wasn’t responsible for the contact and the blame lied solely with Leclerc.
“No. He ran into him. Nobody explains why he’s upset though. Kevin didn’t brake, he didn’t push him off or anything. Kevin just moved over to his line and he ran him into him, what can he do? Just let him by.”