Despite it being a relatively clean start to the race, the first under the new clutch regulations which give a greater emphasis on the driver, there was an accident in turn three between Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson, which eventually saw the Swede out of the race.
Although both of the cars were at the back of the grid, Magnussen out of position following a poor qualifying session, he was on the inside line heading into turn three. Looking like he would make the corner he clipped the kerb on the inside which threw him off line and contacting the rear of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, forcing them both into the gravel. The Haas picked up a broken front wing, with the Sauber losing some of the floor.
The accident was investigated by the stewards, later stating that it was a racing accident – “The Stewards chose to investigate the incident between Car 9 and Car 20 which occurred on the third turn of the first lap.
“The Stewards noted that Magnussen, moved to the inside to avoid Ericsson , and Magnussen followed a very similar line to the car in front of him.
“Ericsson did leave enough room, and Magnussen who was fully on the inside took a reasonable line, but unfortunately the action of the kerb forced him wide and caused the collision. The Stewards determined that this was a racing incident, and neither driver drove in violation of Art 27.4. No Further Action was warranted.”
After the race, Magnussen commented on the accident, “I had contact at turn three. I had Ericsson on the outside and I understeered into the side of him, which was unfortunate.
“I lost my front wing and damaged the car a little bit. We changed the front wing and then I went for a long test session to feel the car and learn a bit more about it, which was good.
“It feels good and the car is fast. That’s the really positive thing from this weekend. The car is there. We just have to make it finish and score points.”
Ericsson was equally as disappointed, later retiring from the race as a result from the first lap accident, “A very disappointing race for me. I did not have a good start, but then I was fighting hard in the first couple of corners on lap one.
“Unfortunately, in turn 3 I got hit from behind, which caused lots of damage on the right side as well as to the floor of the car. From that moment on, it was all about finishing the race.
“Later on, I had to stop the car on track due to a hydraulic failure caused by the incident on lap one.”