Nico Hulkenberg has called into question Kevin Magnussen’s claim that he deliberately transgressed track limits in Miami’s sprint event to protect his teammate’s points-scoring position.

Saturday’s mad dash in Miami threw Magnussen and Haas into a whirlwind of debate regarding team tactics.

The Danish driver, embroiled in a fierce battle for eighth place, resorted to aggressive maneuvers against Lewis Hamilton and Yuki Tsunoda.

But the strategy backfired, with Magnussen incurring time penalties that hampered his own race.

However, the Haas charger’s antics served a useful purpose: they created a buffer for Hulkenberg, allowing him to maintain a crucial gap and secure two valuable points for his team.

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In the post-race debrief, Magnussen took responsibility for the penalties, acknowledging they were “deserved”. However, he framed his actions as a strategic sacrifice for the greater good of the team.

“It wasn’t the most enjoyable way to race,” Magnussen admitted, “but I knew it would benefit the team in the points standings.” His comments painted a picture of selflessness, prioritizing team success over personal glory.

But a skeptic Hulkenberg wasn’t completely buying his teammate’s altruistic take on events.

“That’s where I disagree a little bit,” the German driver told the media in Imola on Thursday.

“Because at that point, I was already well ahead, and I would have secured my position – I had it saved anyway.”

Hulkenberg suggested that Magnussen’s spirited defense tactics might have been fueled more by personal ambition than team spirit.

“I think it was more he was still fighting for himself personally for that one point. So I think you have to separate that a little bit, too”

Magnussen’s aggressive driving has him teetering on the edge of a race ban. He’s already accumulated a hefty 10 penalty points on his super licence points this season, with a further two putting him out of commission for a race.

Hulkenberg acknowledged the potential consequences of the penalty point system, but questioned its effectiveness, wondering whether a 12-point limit within a year might be too lenient.

“I try to stay away from it,” commented the future Audi driver. “It’s busy enough as it is, but it’s quite long until they [the penalty points] get erased, right? I think we could revisit some of it and probably restructure.

“I think if you look at the past, some years, it felt like it was more lenient and they [the stewards] just let us race. Then some years, it felt a bit tighter.

“But yeah, now recently, I also see ‘under investigation’ quite often, but it’s not always that there is action.

“So again, you try to stay away from incidents, you try to stay clear as a driver and clean, so that you’re not losing energy and focus with these kinds of subjects.”

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