For Kevin Magnussen, the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix was over just under a week ago after a collision with Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap. The actual odyssey only began for the Haas pilot afterwards, as he has now revealed.
Because while the medical car stopped to check on him and his McLaren rival as a result of the racing accident, there was only enough room to pit one of the two – and Ricciardo jumped at the chance. Magnussen stayed behind at the edge of the track and stayed there until the end of the race.
But even then nobody came to pick up the Dane. So he had to make his own way back. And that meant he found himself in the general viewing areas. “It was crazy,” the 30-year-old recalls.
Stranded in the middle of the track
“I don’t know what was going on, but it was the most dangerous thing I did this weekend, despite all the driving! For whatever reason, I wasn’t driven back to the pits. Daniel took me out of the race , then jumped into the medical car and drove back to the pits.”
“And then I stood at the side of the track for the whole race. I can survive that, that’s okay,” Magnussen continues. But the worst was yet to come.
“I then tried to speak to the marshals but they couldn’t speak a word of English, none at all. After the race I was waiting for someone to pick me up or something and the marshals started leaving. I just thought: what the hell I do?”
Magnussen ran around to find a way back to the paddock – in vain: “I came to a stop at a fence that I couldn’t really see a way around. Of course I could have walked the whole route and gone to the start/finish can, but there were all the fans.”
Lifted through a hole in the fence
“Then some of the marshals realized I was in trouble and cut a hole in the fence and lifted me through which was a little difficult.”
“The marshals took good care of me”, as noted by the fans, “but it could have ended badly, I think. I’m glad I wasn’t Lewis Hamilton at Zandvoort. That would have been really borderline!”
When asked if the organizers on site had given him an explanation for the incident, Magnussen reveals: “They apologized, but I mean it’s a pretty strange situation. Just come and pick me up, how hard can that be be? It was surreal. I hope that doesn’t happen again.”
Pole a proud moment for everyone
The incident and the early end of the race couldn’t dampen Magnussen’s joy about his surprise poles on Friday. “It was a very proud moment for us to get pole position for such a small, private team like Haas,” he says.
“It was really a proud moment. And I think it made us all very happy. It showed that anything is possible in this sport, even if it often seems impossible. Moments like this are what make it all worthwhile.”
After a couple of pretty tough seasons, this pole was above all an extra boost of motivation for the team: “When you walk through the paddock, you look a little bit bigger, a little bit bigger. That’s great. It’s great to see – and one Memory we will always have together.”
“And when you go into the winter with such a high at the end of the season, that’s worth a lot. I’m really happy about that,” emphasizes Magnussen before the last race.