Just like his father Jan, also a one-time Mclaren protégé, Kevin Magnussen exudes a laid-back demeanour. In any wheel-to-wheel – or even face-to-face – confrontation, K-mag is unruffled. Take last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix as an example, after which Magnussen picked up two penalty points on his superlicence as a result of a contretemps with Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg.
On lap 62 Hülkenberg attempted to pass Magnussen on the outside of Turn 2 – and in the words of the stewards was “a little ahead” – when Magnussen continued to use the full width of the track, forcing the Renault off.
Pre-empting the stewards’ judgement, a still-furious Hülkenberg approached Magnussen in the TV pen, gatecrashing a live interview to congratulate him sarcastically on being “the most unsporting driver on the grid”. K-mag’s instant rejoinder was the stuff that memes are made of: “Suck on my balls, honey.”
On track Magnussen has a bad-boy reputation because he’s a hard-nosed, give-no-quarter racer, something that the fans love to see – but something which can also get him into trouble with the FIA stewards.
Of the current drivers on the grid, Magnussen has accrued more penalty points on his superlicence than anyone else, 14 in total (four from 2014, four from 2016 and six last year).
Points are removed after 12 months, so his current tally is six, but if he notches up 12 within a year he’ll earn a one-race ban. The first ‘live’ point on his superlicence expires on 30 April, 2018, 12 months on from when he was given a penalty for “leaving the track and failing to rejoin as instructed” at Turn 2 in Sochi.
Last year he accrued his other points in Canada (when he overtook Stoffel Vandoorne behind the Safety Car) and in Austin, when he was deemed to have impeded Sergio Pérez in qualifying.