“Maybe you spin yourself” – Unanimous option on whether Charles Leclerc should have overtaken Max Verstappen in the Imola restart after Red Flag at the Emilia Romagna GP.
Charles Leclerc feels he did the right thing by not overtaking Max Verstappen during the race restart resulting from the Red Flag caused by an epic collision between Valtteri Bottas and George, leaving debris flying all over the track.
“I considered this at one point, but at the same time I backed off. I think looking back at it, it was the right choice, because I think he always had one wheel on the track.
“So I backed off because he didn’t completely spin, obviously, as we’ve seen. I thought about it, but it was too late then, he was already back in front.”
Superb race from Max Verstappen, that start was excellent. Lewis very lucky with the red flag, but incredible to get back to 2nd & fastest lap to keep the championship lead.
Lando Norris driver of the day for that 3rd place. Epic overtake of Leclerc at the restart! 🙌🏻
— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrownSport) April 18, 2021
Max Verstappen agrees with Leclerc
Max Verstappen, on his part, feels the Ferrari driver acted judiciously in not trying to take over as they had still not crossed the Safey Car Line 1. Also, albeit less significantly, all the four wheels of the Red Bull was not outside the track.
“I was off track for a bit, but once I was back on the track of course I was driving slow because I was recovering, getting my steering wheel straight. But then I don’t think you can pass anymore. I think when you see a car drifting like that in front of you, first of all I think you just back out, because you don’t know where it’s going to go.
“It’s seconds. Maybe you have a chance of two or three seconds to do it. It’s so tricky out there with tyres. You don’t want to also react to it – maybe you spin yourself. It can happen.”
Michael Masi agrees with both
The jury, in this case FIA Race Director Michael Masi, has agreed unanimously with both the drivers’ stance of status quo. Lando Norris, who had taken over Leclerc right after the restart felt he could have overstaken Verstappen, but Masi confirmed he would have had to give the position back.
“After a [race] suspension, it is considered a race lap, but in the same sort of principles as a formation lap,” he said. “So if a car was out of position, it would be like a formation lap that they can regain that position as long as it’s before [the Safety Car One line], is the general principle is the way the regulations are worded.”