Charles Leclerc receives three-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as a collision with Sergio Perez made stewards penalize him.
Charles Leclerc had a tough start to the Sakhir Grand Prix, despite a favourable grid start from P4. The Ferrari driver crashed into Sergio Perez in the first lap, though Perez survived, Max Verstappen became the victim and had his car smashing into the barriers.
This made F1 stewards investigate against Leclerc, and now find him guilty of the damage in the first lap and are penalising him by giving a three-place grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
A statement issued by the FIA said: “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 16 (Charles Leclerc), team representatives and have reviewed multiple angles of video evidence.
“Car 16 braked too late into Turn 4, locking the front right wheel and colliding with Car 11 which was taking the normal racing line into the corner.”
Charles Leclerc didn’t intend to cause harm
Speaking to the media after the race, Leclerc said that he expected Perez to remain wide at the turn 4 but instead the Mexican driver narrowed down.
“I was in fifth I think, and I was side-by-side, a bit behind Max I think, and tried to overtake him into Turn 4,” Leclerc said.
“I had seen Checo, but I expected him to go around the outside of Valtteri and stay there, but I think he decided to come back on the inside, and I was there.
“It was too late for me to slow down. I don’t think it’s a mistake from Checo, I’m not putting the blame on Checo. If there’s anybody to blame today, it’s me.”
Meanwhile, Verstappen called it reckless driving for driving like this in the opening moments of the race, when according to him there was no need to do it at all.
“I don’t know why they were being so aggressive and so reckless,” he explained. “We are all up in the front, and at the end of the day now, three cars basically were the victim of that, two cars heavily.”