Leclerc gets time penalty after Japanese Grand Prix, drops down grid!

Tanya Simon
October 16, 2019

"After this second piece detached, the team felt the vehicle was now in a safe condition and despite previously telling the Race Director that the auto would be called to the pits, they told auto 16 to remain out and not to pit".

The Monegasque had begun on the front, with team partner Sebastian Vettel on rod, but equally, Ferraris made bad begins with Bottas yanking the guide to Mercedes to the corner.

However, as the trio behind them headed into turn one, Leclerc had managed to fend off Hamilton on his inside but had Verstappen driving alongside him on his outside.

As the cars approached the apex of Turn 2, Verstappen, who was marginally in front, stayed wide and allowed sufficient room to the inside but Leclerc lost front grip in the wake of the auto in front and abruptly understeered towards the outside of the track, contacting the Red Bull and forcing it off the track.

The racing stewards initially ruled it a racing incident.

"After the first lap incident, then the race we knew it would be very, very hard".

"I mean, what more should he (Leclerc) do to get a penalty?"

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However, Leclerc had another 10 seconds added to his time post-race for Ferrari ignoring the FIA's calls to pit the Monaco native to fix his front wing immediately after that clash.

Charles Leclerc has dropped a place to seventh in a revised Japanese GP result after being handed two time penalties in the wake of his first-lap clash with Max Verstappen. He bashed Leclerc, saying he was for hard racing, but what happened was irresponsible.

But Leclerc was also handed a more severe 10-second penalty for not pitting at the end of the first lap to fix his car's damaged wing - and then carrying on until lap three, by which time the wing had broken apart and debris strewn backwards towards Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, which sustained a broken wing mirror. "This was just irresponsible driving into Turn Two".

Speaking before he and Leclerc had met the stewards, an angry Verstappen told Sky F1: "We had a really good start for once, that was a positive". Charles drove to the side of my vehicle, "Verstappen told Sky Sports television".

"I understeered being behind Sebastian and Lewis, and then we touched", said the Monegasque. "Overall I don't think it was costing too much. We all know that you lose power behind the vehicle so it's not an excuse and I think he is experienced enough to know it".

Leclerc wrote back: "The only part I could see lose [sic] from inside the auto was the mirror and that's why I was holding it down the straights to avoid losing it and hit somebody".

Leclerc said initially it was a "tricky situation" but later recognised his mistake. My whole vehicle is destroyed.

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