Magnussen: Vettel "did the right thing" passing Verstappen
Kevin Magnussen believes Sebastian Vettel and the Renault drivers "did the right thing" in passing Max Verstappen in the dying seconds of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Red Bull's Verstappen was left furious after failing to cross the start/finish line in time to complete his final flying lap in Q3 after being overtaken by the Ferrari driver, as well as Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.
The Dutchman argued drivers have an unwritten rule to not overtake each other during the warm-up lap, and claimed his rivals had "f****d up my entire build-up".
Magnussen was another driver to fail to make it in time to start his final flyer, and said afterwards he felt Vettel and the Renaults were right to speed up.
"It was pretty messy so at the end of the lap everyone was trying to, I guess, get started, but also have somebody in front," Magnussen said. "So it ended up being too much and costs a few guys the lap.
"Everyone also went out at exactly the same time out of the pits. We were following each other and towards the end of the lap you didn't know whether to try and overtake people, which in that case they are going to defend and it was messy."
When asked by Motorsport.com about Verstappen's complaints regarding Vettel and the Renault duo, Magnussen said: "In the end, if they got the lap, then they did the right thing."
The Dane, who qualified ninth ahead of teammate Romain Grosjean, said he decided against trying to overtake his rivals because he felt it would have been counterproductive.
"I didn't want to be an asshole," Magnussen said jokingly. "You know what I mean. We are racing. I didn't attack anyone not because I'm a gentleman, but because I thought my chances would be pretty poor of actually getting past people because people don't want you to get past and it's just messy.
"I don't want to screw anyone. I don't see any point in that. I try to do my own thing and try to do a good qualifying for myself and I would never try to screw anyone just for the hell of it."
Ricciardo suggested that had he not passed Verstappen, he would not have made it before time had run out.
"It was close actually," said Ricciardo. "I think I passed the line with maybe a second or less. I saw the red light as I was passing it, so it was close.
"But I don't know if the others weren't getting the information but my engineer was saying 'it's gonna be tight, you need to go'.
"I just don't think the others were getting the same information because they were taking their time, a few of them."
Renault teammate Hulkenberg said he could see traffic would be bad when leaving the pits and was just making sure he could get his lap in.
"Actually I wasn't aware it was that tight, to be honest. But I could see it sort of leaving the pitlane, I could tell it was going to bunch up at the end.
"I had the Mercedes in front of me, Ferrari's were pushing already behind, overtaking me early on, other cars were pushing up behind, so I could tell it is going to happen. And I made sure towards the end of the lap that I get ahead and not run into trouble."
Additional reporting by Adam Cooper and Oleg Karpov
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