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Magnussen’s Tenacious Battle with Leclerc



Magnussen Battle Leclerc 2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix

2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix, the true spectacle was Magnussen’s tenacious battle with Leclerc, defying expectations and pushing the limits. Though logic suggested surrendering to Ferrari, Magnussen’s unyielding spirit kept hope alive, showcasing the essence of true racing spirit.

Max Verstappen’s stunning overtaking of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas in a single DRS-aided move was the pinnacle of his race to victory at the Miami Grand Prix.

However, Verstappen’s feat of surpassing both cars simultaneously wasn’t the most extraordinary event at that instant.

What made it even more remarkable was that the two cars he overtook were also changing positions. Haas driver Magnussen swiftly retook Leclerc’s Ferrari on the outer side heading into Turn 1 after losing a spot to it at the end of the back straight. Though it was a DRS maneuver, Magnussen’s decision to attempt it rather than simply conceding to the Ferrari and ceasing to compete against it was truly impressive.

For a midfielder out of position, concentrating on the actual battle is practical and rational. Why should a Haas waste time trying to resist a Ferrari when it could easily let it pass with minimal delay and concentrate on beating opponents like Alpine and Alfa Romeo?

However, sometimes logic must make way for hope.

Magnussen skillfully withstood Leclerc’s efforts for 38 of the Miami GP’s 57 laps, displaying no submission to Ferrari, regardless of it being a more competitive car or Haas’s technical partner. Magnussen fiercely contested every attempt from Leclerc, whether on the inside or in a DRS zone.


Ultimately, Leclerc managed to overtake and finished seventh, while Magnussen, who began in an impressive but somewhat lucky fourth position, fell to 10th.

In hindsight, Magnussen expressed mild regret for racing Leclerc so vigorously, as it took a toll on his tires during the second stint.

“I had a terrible start and then had a lengthy battle with Leclerc, which was tough on my tires. I probably should have taken better care of my tires, but regardless… We had a solid day and scored one point,” Magnussen stated.

Did Magnussen’s Actions Result in a Less Favorable Outcome?

Did Magnussen’s struggle with Leclerc negatively affect his race outcome? To evaluate this, we must take into account its influence on his subsequent duel with Esteban Ocon for ninth place.

Both drivers had opposite strategies, with Magnussen adopting the pre-race preferred approach, starting on medium tires and then switching to hards. Ocon began on hards, intending to run a longer first stint and then change to mediums.

During the initial stint, while Leclerc was trapped behind Magnussen, Ocon pursued them. As Magnussen battled Leclerc, Ocon observed from close range, never more than two seconds behind during the first stint.


As Magnussen fended off Leclerc in the first stint and maintained his position by pitting first, there was no downside to staying ahead during this part of the race. In fact, he didn’t seem to exert too much effort in doing so.

Leclerc pitted three laps later for hard tires and reentered the race about four seconds behind. He closed in at a leisurely pace of approximately 0.125 seconds per lap, but was within striking distance on lap 33. In reality, the contest between the two lasted from then until Turn 1 on lap 38, when Leclerc finally overtook Magnussen. During this phase, Magnussen briefly went off at the chicane, but it didn’t cost him anything.

From laps 33 to 38, Magnussen lost roughly four-tenths of a second per lap to Ocon, which was similar to the average loss over the previous 10 laps.

While the skirmish itself didn’t greatly influence the confrontation between Magnussen and Ocon, it may have affected what was to come later.

Ocon switched to medium tires on lap 39, just after the Magnussen-Leclerc battle concluded. Magnussen had indeed pushed his tires in the duel with Leclerc, not only in their head-to-head but also as he tried to stay within DRS range of Lance Stroll ahead, both to defend against Leclerc and to potentially overtake the Aston Martin and reduce the gap to Pierre Gasly.

Once Ocon rejoined the race on medium tires, he was on average six-tenths of a second per lap faster than Magnussen. He quickly closed the gap, made a decisive overtake, and pulled away to finish 4.8 seconds ahead.

Could Magnussen have been faster without compromising tire management? Possibly. But would it have been enough to fend off Ocon? This seems doubtful, given that the Alpine was a slightly faster car overall and Ocon had the advantage of running on medium tires.

Magnussen’s Tenacity: A Key Factor in F1’s Unforgettable Battles


Magnussen is known as one of F1’s most tenacious and unyielding racers. However, that doesn’t mean he’d battle a lost cause just for the sake of it.

Recall another remarkable Magnussen performance that resulted in a 10th place finish for Haas at the 2020 Hungarian GP. After pitting for slicks at the end of the formation lap, he found himself in third place by lap five, trailing only Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen.

Early in that race, he asked his engineer Gary Gannon for information on who he was realistically competing against. He then chose his battles wisely, opting not to contest Stroll’s Racing Point or Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes, but resisting everyone else. He beat Leclerc to the final point that day by 11 seconds.

On Sunday, the lap before Leclerc made his decisive move, Magnussen told his 2023 engineer Mark Slade that he couldn’t hold off Leclerc due to his speed. Slade responded that if it was best to let Leclerc through and follow him past the two cars ahead, that was acceptable, as Magnussen was faster than those two cars.

In contrast to many recent F1 encounters between top teams and underdogs, in Miami, Magnussen and Haas did not concede to Leclerc until they were entirely certain that the battle was unwinnable. With most teams behind Red Bull being within the same second during much of the season, this approach is entirely appropriate.

“Obviously, I was dreaming of a little more than one point today,” Magnussen acknowledged on Sunday night.

“But all the big teams finished the race and had no problems. So, it was a pretty challenging race to score points. There were no gifts as such.”


Indeed, Magnussen did not offer any gifts or easy passes during the race.

Magnussen Battle Leclerc 2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix Magnussen Battle Leclerc 2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix Magnussen Battle Leclerc 2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix Magnussen Battle Leclerc 2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix Magnussen Battle Leclerc 2023 Miami F1 Grand Prix

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