Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2019

Bottas blames Leclerc for “completely unnecessary” first-lap contact

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas blamed Charles Leclerc for this first-lap collision between the pair which badly compromised his race.

The pair made contact as Leclerc overtook Bottas between turns three and four. Bottas said the collision went beyond the acceptable limits of “hard racing”.

“At the time when it happened I thought that I was just focused on something else and maybe didn’t see him, but it happened pretty quick.

“But then when I saw the onboards, and when I saw it from Vettel’s onboard, that was pretty clear. I was just going straight ahead, [Leclerc] was on the right and he would have been anyway ahead of me before turn four going straight. But then suddenly he just swept across and for me it was too late to react.

“I love hard racing, that’s for sure, but that was just completely unnecessary and for sure compromised my race. He was lucky not to get a puncture. That’s not how it should be.”

The contact with Leclerc capped a poor start to the race for Bottas, who had already locked a wheel at the first corner unsuccessfully trying to pass Max Verstappen.

“Then going into turn two I had some understeer because of that,” he explained. “It was all OK, Lewis [Hamilton] was on the outside but there was still room for two of us.

“Maybe I left a bit too much because he could carry good speed into turn three. We were side-by-side, for sure he didn’t leave any room for me so that compromised my exit out of turn three, I had to lift.”

That led to the collision with Leclerc, which forced him into the pits for a front wing change. “It really compromised the race and [I was] losing big chunks of time in the beginning,” said Bottas.

“Then we stopped early, going through traffic all through the race, that was really the story.” He finished the race eighth.

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52 comments on “Bottas blames Leclerc for “completely unnecessary” first-lap contact”

  1. It did not look good and I was amazed Leclerc did not get a penalty for it. But if he had gotten a time penalty it would not have altered the race result

    1. @bart I was glad he didn’t get a penalty because it was fairly marginal. But I would have liked to see some more condemnation. At least to have it be investigated properly by stewards. I think warnings should be given out and overtime amount to penalties. Individual incidents can happen for multiple reasons, but bad behavior over multiple races should be punished. Dirty driving like Magnussen should not be allowed

    2. If you look back on the history of Ferrari, you find its peppered with these moments.

      How quickly we forget.

      There’s something about their history and the culture which is introduce to their drivers.

      This is Ferarri finding an advantage even when they have none.

      This time its dismissed as a race incident. Last time Vettel was penalised. what’s next?

    3. It doesn’t matter if it wouldn’t change the result. He completely destroyed Bottas’s race. Something should have been done.

    4. Why a penalty? Bottas only has to blame himself, just because Martin Brundle isnl tremendously bias doesn’t mean you don’t have 2 eyes and a brain to come up with your opinion. Ham cut across bot, they hot each other as well…. silence. Quit with the bias.

      1. I don’t think it was just Martin Brundle on the commentating side that were puzzled by the scenario. But then, as you point out, 2 eyes and a brain mostly see what they want to see and remember what they choose to remember. It’s one of the biggest problems the Police have with witness statements!

      2. lewis didn’t cut across,he stayed on the correct line.
        bottas should have backed out,as it was clear lewis had got the better of him.

      3. Two totally different incidents. Hamilton drove the racing line. Bottas should have backed off a little more to avoid contact. However it was minor contact. Leclerc hit Bottas on a straight… Bottas did not move, Leclerc simply pulled strait across him.

    5. How quickly we all forget the many times bottas put a Ferrari driver in the wall, made contact destroyed their race without getting a penalty.. like raikonen

  2. That chop across into Valtteri by Leclerc was completely stupid. Looks like something Vettel would do and the world would give him a hard time for. But its Ferrari’s golden boy. He cant do no harm.
    He should have gotten a penaty for it too.

    1. 100% nailed on penalty, under the “maneuvers liable to hinder” provision. I am a big Leclerc fan, but that was a total shoulder charge at Bottas, like something you’d do in Mario Kart.

      Flabbergasted that the stewards noted it but said no investigation was necessary. I would like to hear from Charles what he was doing there.

      Also Perez turning in on Albon, and Magnussen moving way too late when defending from Ricciardo, were two other incidents that should have been penalized. There’s letting them race, and then there’s just dirty underhanded driving. We want the former, with none of the latter.

    2. @lums Completely disagree. Lewis chopped off Bottad and hit him aswell, also most often Max pulls a move pike this in lap 1. Bottas brought the contact on himself. This incident is overblown, sky even said stewards didn’t take notice when they did it was plastered on the screen. Typical bias that’s what it is.

      1. @peartree
        I don’t expect you to agree and I wasn’t talking about Lewis or Max, just Charles, ‘cos he damaged Valtteri’s wings and destroyed his race. It was a stupid move ‘cos nothing was gained but a lot was lost.

  3. True, the helicopter view makes it seem even worse.
    The whole first lap really messed up bottas’ composure and momentum he builded throughout the weekend. Looked lost after it.

  4. I agree that what Leclerc did should not have been allowed. Still, I also feel that Bottas should have simply lined up behind Hamilton rather than keeping his nose stuck in by a few centimeters. He brought this upon himself.

    Keeping his nose stuck in necessitated Bottas to brake hard when Hamilton took the racing line and that then caused Bottas to lose the place to Leclerc.

    You know you lost the position, so why not make place on the racing line and ensure you at least keep the place you already have. Why defend to the death when you realistically already lost the position? He actually has a tendency of doing this in Hungaroring. He had similar issues with Ricciardo and Vettel in previous years when he didn’t want to take his loss.

  5. It was strange to see in German GP when stewards didn’t penalised Ferrari for Leclerc’s unsafe pit release (that “coffee cup” penalty is not even worth mentioning), this is even much more stranger. Perhaps, this is a total change of mind for what it means to be a “hard racing”. We must keep a close eye on the stewards in the future.

    1. @bulgarian It isn’t “strange” at all. Just look at who Leclerc’s manager is to understand why this is happening.

  6. Yeah second race in a row I’m confused why Leclerc didn’t get a penalty.

    1. Ferrari International Assistance…

      1. @gnosticbrian I think every f1 weekend in the past 10 years defeats this comment.

        1. Your opinion, to which you are welcome.

    2. @rocketpanda @gnosticbrian @peartree Just check who is Leclerc’s manager. That’s all you need to know.

        1. Yes, this makes sense, I think they’ve been on the kind side on deciding penalties for leclerc, they’re harsher with vettel.

  7. Yeah feel sorry for Bottas. Very strange move from Leclerc.

  8. I believe the stewards statement was that there would be no investigation but how do they declare they won’t investigate something without investigating it. That said, Bottas screwed up the start, blocked Hamilton at the start, and could have just got in line for an easy third place, but instead worked his arse off for an 8th place finish. Well done. I am glad BOT didn’t block VER at the end as that is something the VER fanboys would have been whining about all through the break.

  9. Anyone remember a couple of seasons ago when Hamilton was taken out at Silverton 2018 by Raikkonen, who had to come from the back of the field to finish on the podium.

    I wont mention the collision between Vettel and Hamilton on the opening lap of Monza 2018, this time Vettel
    seems amazed to come off worst after driving into to Hamilton.

    In the end of course Ferrari end up shooting themselves in the foot. Like that incident in the singapore 2017
    where both the ferrari sandwich Vesteppan, to convert their pole positions into a wipe out.

    And then of course there was the incident earlier this year Canada, where vettel with a clear track advantage, manages to fall back and then narrowly miss colliding with Hamilton. Here the points he incured cost him a victory.

    I can only guess Ferrari must play movies of their old races to their new drivers, to impress them with a history of Ferrari collisons. Who wouldn’t then want to be part of that history ?-/

    1. Ahah, fun one!

  10. Suffering Williams Fan
    4th August 2019, 22:04

    With all the complaints around some of the penalties for “hard racing” recently, it seems to me that the stewards may now be going in the other direction. To not even investigate such an incident is amazing to me – if swerving into a competitor (albeit stupidly rather than maliciously in my opinion), damaging their car and wrecking their race is not a penalty, what is?

    I wonder if that’s also definitive number two status for Bottas for the rest of the season. Now that Verstappen is emerging as a credible threat in the championship, will Mercedes prioritize Hamilton going forward?

    1. I agree partly. I can agree with not giving a penalty. I just hope they will stick to this. I got the odd feeling the stewards would have had a closer look if Magnussen or Kvyatt would have made that move. Maybe I am wrong.

  11. Also Hamilton had a penalty at the German grand prix for coming into the pit the wrong side of a cone – but his car was broken so driving it all the way round the track would have incurred a penalty for the car being in an unfit state – I feel the stewards are just giving penalties if there is an easy rule that fits (must be this side of the cone) and not applying any judgement calls any more, it’s almost like they are thinking “we need 100% of people to agree with our decision, otherwise someone will complain”, so for those situations that require a judgement call its now either no action required or investigate after the race. Now treuve gone a step further and just gone “not gonna bother”.

  12. That wasn’t hard racing. It was BAD racing. Something you would expect from a guy like Magnussen, someone who’s know for his jerky movements and constant collisions.

    I saw the message about the incident going into investigation, but never the result, if it was worthy of a penalty or not.

    It is getting ugly, all this protection to Leclerc.

    1. tesla (@thedogjustpukedonme)
      5th August 2019, 1:50

      The message was saying they noted the incident but decided against investigating it.

  13. While I agree it was unnecessary and deserved a penalty, I also believe that you make your own luck. Bottas shouldn’t have been fighting with the Ferraris, those two lock ups, trying so hard not to lose the position to Hamilton, he’s becoming weaker and weaker.

    1. Agreed. Honestly, I didn’t even notice what Leclerc did. The only thought i had after lap 1 was that Bottas looked like a guy driving for his life and folding under the pressure.

      1. Yeah it’s unfortunate because I like Bottas but he’s just not up to it. It’s rare you see Hamilton getting involved in this type of stuff in the same car. I also think the drivers are starting to treat Bottas as a bit of a pushover as we saw today from pretty much everyone he went toe to toe with

  14. Leclerc doesnt seem to have good ammount of gray matter in top floor. As usual inconsitent stewarding to rescue of Limping donkey golden boy.

  15. Ironically if Hamilton did not beat Verstappen the latter would have gone into the break with more points and wins than Bottas. That would not be a good look.

  16. Another strange call by the stewards. How can chopping across your opponent in a straight and damaging his car be not classified as “causing a collision”?

    1. @kaiie When you are managed by a certain individual, you can get away with quite a lot.

  17. It should have been clear penalty and there is precedent for it. 2017 canada gp and sainz penalty. Sainz similarly drives into grosjean and gets grid penalty for it:
    https://youtu.be/YwL19BaHY2w?t=39
    https://www.racefans.net/2017/06/11/sainz-receives-european-grand-prix-grid-penalty/
    Only difference is that sainz completely crashed into grosjean whereas leclerc was more lucky with smaller contact. In f1 you are fine to crash into other cars on corner exits but it seems that is now allowed on straights as well.

  18. It is interesting to note how some folks lack focus to discuss the actual incident itself by digressing into other aspects of Bottas’s race and/or personality.This is no way mitigates the circumstances of this incident itself and the enigmatic decision of the stewards. A racing incident, maybe? But any such incident that inflicts such compromising damage on the other car is deserving of reprimand and penalty.Whether the penalty (time penalty for example) influences the outcome of that penalised driver’s race is not relevant…well especially when you are 60+ seconds behind,huh?

    1. @geoffgroom44

      A racing incident, maybe? But any such incident that inflicts such compromising damage on the other car is deserving of reprimand and penalty

      Nonsense.

      1. clearly there was doubt about the reasons for the incident, otherwise the stewards would not have investigated anyway.As for nonsense, it’s a good comment I will remember for the next time Ferrari wants to claim ‘professional foul’.

  19. The golden boy is protected because he’s managed by Nicolas Todt. FIA/FOM don’t want to upset the future Ferrari superstar.

    I don’t mind it because the more they pamper him the weaker he’ll be in the long term.

  20. It is a pity that the 2 dangerous drivers ALB and LEC are not penalized for their reckless driving in straight lines. Normally they should have had a race ban each, but that is too much to ask for nowadays.

  21. Masi has responded to Bottas claim and he said that onboards didn’t show a fair picture and the images from the helicopter gave a more precise reflection of what happened. Those helicopter images showed that actually Bottas moved a little bit in the direction of Leclerc hitting his read tyre with his front wing.

    Based on that, next to it being lap 1, the stewards deemed no further action needed. I have not seen the helicopter footage but it would be great it the F1 would release those as based on the onboard videos I too was very surprised that Leclerc did get away as it really seemed Leclerc unnecessarily hit Bottas.

    1. Suffering Williams Fan
      5th August 2019, 14:45

      Yeh, I’ve seen this comment from Masi and want to see that overhead shot, because on re-watching the onboard from Vettel’s car, I just can’t see a meaningful move from Bottas (the gap between Bottas’ left wheel and the edge of the track looks fairly consistent) and the move by Leclerc continues to look odd given that the track curves right before the left-hander.

        1. Yes Bottas moves a bit towards the right but Leclerc is the one really moving towards Bottas, that should have been a penalty. On the other hand i can live with Bottas feeling the pain since he pulled quite some stuff on others in the past without being penalized.

  22. Bottas will soon be promoted to the Mercedes FE team, position wingman.

  23. Why did Valterri miss the team photo?

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