Lewis Hamilton commended Kevin Magnussen’s “honest” explanation for the strong-armed defensive tactics that saw the Haas driver pick up a succession of penalties in the Miami GP Sprint.

In an entertaining 19-lap race with no shortage of incidents, Magnussen and Hamilton became embroiled in a fierce battle for the final point which saw the Haas driver employ increasingly desperate measures to defend eighth place from his Mercedes rival.

Magnussen, running one place behind Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, picked up three separate time penalties from stewards totalling 30 seconds for running off track three times and staying ahead of Hamilton – with the second incident even seeing the cars make contact.

Magnussen, who also picked up an additional five-second sanction for repeated track limits infringements, was later called to stewards on a charge of “alleged unsportsmanlike behaviour” ahead of Saturday evening’s main qualifying hour at 9pm.

Magnussen said he had no qualms about any of the penalties imposed on him and admitted he had to resort to what he accepted were “stupid tactics” in order to help Hulkenberg stay in seventh place ahead and not come under attack from either Hamilton or RB’s Yuki Tsunoda into the closing laps.

“All the penalties were well deserved – no doubt about it,” Magnussen told Sky Sports F1. “But I had to play the game again.

“I was in a very good position behind Nico there. In the beginning of the race, I gained a lot of positions and was up in P8.

“I was protecting well from Lewis because I had the DRS from Nico and I had good pace.

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Haas’ Kevin Magnussen says he did his job as a team player after creating a gap for teammate Nico Hulkenberg, which cost him three penalties

“Then Nico cut the chicane and I lost the DRS. Nico could have given that back to give me the DRS to protect because then we would have easily been P7 and P8.

“Instead, I was really vulnerable to Lewis. Started fighting with him like crazy and I had to just create the gap like I did in Jeddah.

“I started using these stupid tactics which I don’t like doing, but at the end of the day I did my job as a team player and Nico scored his points because I got that gap for him so Lewis and Tsunoda couldn’t catch him.

“Not the way I like to go racing at all, but it was what I had to do today.”

Lewis Hamilton would end up saying ‘bravo’ to Magnussen

When Magnussen’s comments was put to him, Hamilton gave a classy response to the Dane’s reasoning.

“I think that’s pretty honest from him – and I think that’s pretty cool,” said the seven-time champion.

“We had a good race. It was a little bit on the edge in some places but that’s what I love. I love racing hard and, for me, I wasn’t really frustrated or anything.

“That’s what you do to work as a team, so bravo.”

Although Magnussen’s defence of position in the third incident was such that Hamilton dropped behind Tsunoda, the Mercedes driver eventually passed the Haas and then, on the final lap, the RB to cross the line in eighth place.

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Highlights of the Sprint from the Miami GP

However, there was an almost immediate sting in the tail for the Mercedes driver as stewards issued Hamilton with a 20-second time penalty in lieu of a drive-through after he was have found to have driven too fast in the pit lane when the Safety Car had taken the pack through the service road in the race’s early laps.

Ironically, Hamilton had been centrally involved in the first-corner incident that had triggered the Safety Car after he made contact with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso as he attempted a move down the inside, an impact which set off a multi-car chain reaction and ended up with the retirements of Lando Norris and Lance Stroll.

Sky Sports F1’s live Miami GP schedule

Saturday May 4
8pm: Miami GP Qualifying build-up*
9pm: Miami GP Qualifying*
11pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook*

Sunday May 5
6.05pm: F1 Academy Race 2
7.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP build-up*
11pm: Chequered Flag: Miami GP reaction*
Midnight: Ted’s Notebook*

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

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