F1 2014 Driver Review: Kevin Magnussen


Kevin Magnussen

Team: McLaren-Mercedes
Car No.: 20
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 1
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 55
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 11th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Kevin Magnussen was meant to be the next big thing in Formula 1, having warranted the sacking of Sergio Perez after just oen season at McLaren. The Dane lived up to the hype on his debut, finishing second behind Nico Rosberg in Australia, and suggested that experienced teammate Jenson Button may not have it all his own way in 2014.

However, this proved to be the highlight of his season. He did manage to finish in the points on 12 occasions, but Magnussen rarely troubled the front-runners. Sure, the McLaren MP4-29 car gave him little chance of doing so, but the gulf in points to his teammate – 126 to 55 – is cause for concern.

Magnussen was solid if unspectacular this year, and is now waiting on a decision from McLaren to see if he will be retained. If it wants to build for the future with Honda, K-Mag is the man for the job. However, in terms of true ability and experience – and who will score more points in 2015 – Button should get the nod.

That said, it would be a shame for Magnussen to be shelved after just one season. He may not have set the world on fire this year, but he definitely deserves more than just one season to prove his worth.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Jan Magnussen’s son Kevin seemed to meet a lot of well-timed criteria at the start of the year. He’d be making his debut in a Mobil 1-backed McLaren-Mercedes as his father did in 1995, when both those partnerships began. But after an impressive preseason and an absolutely perfect debut Grand Prix in Melbourne, things never were as rosy again for the talented Dane the rest of his rookie year.

Teammate Jenson Button held the edge in race results and points, as could have been expected, but also in qualifying, where Magnussen was probably seeking to gain the upper hand. Consider how his fellow rookie Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso got the better of Jean-Eric Vergne on Saturdays more often than not and that seemed to stand out. Magnussen had few true “wow” moments, but he had several decent qualifying efforts.

The one area he must improve on in 2015 if he gets a chance to continue is maintaining his race position on race day. Magnussen ended better than he started in only six of the 18 Grands Prix he finished this season, and his fall from regular points scores brought McLaren down to a battle with Force India for fifth. His first year had its high points, and you could see him grow in the level of a Valtteri Bottas with more seasoning, but his promise wasn’t fully realized on the whole in 2014.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,

SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.