Start, Suzuka, 2019

First-lap collision with Verstappen “just a tricky situation” – Leclerc

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says he collided with Max Verstappen because he lost grip behind other cars at the start.

The Ferrari driver tangled with the Red Bull, who was on his outside, in turn two on the first lap of the race. Leclerc was running behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton at the time.

“Obviously I understeered, being behind Seb and Lewis,” Leclerc told Sky, “and then we touched.

“I don’t know, I haven’t seen the full situation from outside. From the car it was just a tricky situation.”

Race control initially indicated the incident would not be investigated, which prompted a furious response from Verstappen on the radio: “Where should I go?” he asked. “He just fucking understeered into my car.”

However they later reversed their stance and summoned both drivers after the race to investigate the collision.

Both drivers suffered damage from the contact. Verstappen later retired from the race, and Leclerc had to make an early pit stop to replace his front wing.

“From my side after the first lap incident we knew the race would be very difficult,” said Leclerc. “I had quite a lot of fun overtaking but sixth is not the place I wanted to finish. It’s disappointing but strategy-wise on our side I don’t think we have done much places.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “First-lap collision with Verstappen “just a tricky situation” – Leclerc”

  1. Leclerc made a mistakes. These things happen. Max left him an un-Max like lot of space and still he could make the corner safely.

    You could always argue about a penalty. But what difference would it make

    1. Same as Hungary 2017

    2. GtisBetter (@)
      13th October 2019, 10:11

      I agree. Though a penalty is also about consistency. But to be fair that hasn’t been the theme this season. It is a clear collision and either a penalty or no penalty because of first lap could have been giving almost straight away. Calling in drivers after the race is another new thing.

      1. @passingisoverrated
        ”Calling in drivers after the race is another new thing.”
        – No, that isn’t. Stewards waiting with an investigation of an incident until after the end of the race in question has happened numerous times before.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          13th October 2019, 10:37

          Investigations after the race are very rare and usually happen when both drivers are out, cause it doesn’t matter. Or there is a good reason to hear the drivers. Having to investigate a simple touch after the race doesn’t happen, cause you can easily do it during the race. Everybody can see what happened. They just need to decide if they are going to blame someone or say it’s racing. But it seems they can’t even do that anymore.

    3. @anunaki hahaha, imagine if the roles were reversed. This would definitely not be ‘these things happen’. And any replay will show you instantly that the issue was definitely not how much space Max left on the racing line.

  2. Lies… and where is an apology?
    Where is the black and orange flag from the stewards before debris flies into another driver’s cockpit.
    Garbage all round.

    1. Well, that got him a 10s penalty, and the team a fine @john-h, I would agree that’s two hours late and a (few) dollar(s) short, but at least it was then addressed.

      I think next time Masi should tell teams that consider it that a black and orange flag is awaiting, and possible DSQ after the race if they cannot prove they had good reasons, because driving on with some damage might be okay, but w/o the halo the debris might have hit Hamilton’s helmet and it did ruin Norris’s race, so continuing when the stuff looks so unstable that it’s sure to break, that’s endangering competitors and marshals, and that is just not okay.

    2. Where is the lie in what he said?

  3. Exactly what max did in Austria, I don’t understand y there is a penalty

    1. You don’t understand y because you don’t understand racing. In austria Max was ahead, it was his turn. Today Leclerc wasn’t ahead as well, it wasn’t his turn.

    2. Not even close, max was ahead and left more than a cars width on inside. This was Leclercs incompetence on backing off and causing collision.

      1. So if you are ahead you can ram other car off the track but not when you don’t have the overlap?

  4. Not sure if the officials and fans are more relaxed than before but I’m very sure that if Verstappen did this a couple of years ago everyone would be upset with Verstappen

    1. If Max would have done this today everybody would be upset with him, you can be very sure about it

    2. Indeed, I often wonder why Leclerc seems to get a pass on things Verstappen has been so heavily vilified for.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      13th October 2019, 13:36

      Imagine the comments if it was Vettel who had taken Verstappen out and not Leclerc…..

  5. Leclerc should have been shown the black and orange flag, that bit of debris that took out Hamilton’s mirror could have hit his head. Do we care about safety or not?

    1. Even after recent death of Hubert no masi doesnt care about safety of drivers.

  6. quoting RIC: “sore loser”

  7. If he had understeer, what was he supposed to do, slow down? You can’t slow down in the first turn, you’ll get run over and cause even more chaos. When he said Lerlerc should have known better, Lerlerc did. He knew better than to slow down at the first turn of an F1 race.

    1. yes he sure was supposed to take his foot off the throttle. nobody expected him to pull up the handbrake and park the car, but he didn’t have to push Max so much. so I don’t think I agree with your comment

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