Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Leclerc: Vettel not at fault at all for first-lap collision

2020 Styrian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc has said he is completely to blame for the first-lap collision which put both Ferraris out of the Styrian Grand Prix.

He apologised to Sebastian Vettel after colliding with his team mate when he tried to pass him on the inside of turn three at the start.

Leclerc said he apologised to Vettel for the collision. “I’ve seen a gap, I went for it, it was a very small gap and not a realistic gap to take, and especially in between team mates,” Leclerc explained. “So it’s my fault and there’s no excuses for that.”

“It’s my fault and that’s it,” he added. “I’m completely guilty in this one, Seb doesn’t have any fault.”

Ferrari were hopeful of a better showing this weekend after bringing several updates for their SF1000. Leclerc said he was also “very sorry for the team”.

“They did an amazing job and they pushed massively to bring the updates,” he said. “But I put the cars [out on] the first lap. I’m very sorry, even though it’s not enough to say that in this type of situations. I hope I’ll get better and hopefully I won’t do any more of these mistakes in the future.”

Leclerc, who started 14th, admitted he risked too much because he knew he needed to make progress on the first lap.

“I’ve also been risking because I know that we have to, to have a special result at all. But this is not an excuse. Plenty of things could have happened later on in the race and we are out, the two cars are out in the first lap because of me.”

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20 comments on “Leclerc: Vettel not at fault at all for first-lap collision”

  1. Complete boneheaded move and he’s fully admitted it and taken full ownership of it, fully sorry for it…no sure what else we can say? As he said, he has to now learn from this and not do it again. All they can do now is their best at the next race. CL must feel as low as a snake in a wagon track right now.

    1. But does he learn?
      It was not the first stupid collision he caused and while he is moaning about his own behavior there seems not much changing.

      1. I believe he is a quick learner. This time there was no narrow streets or drag strips to cushion the blow. What I think it’ll be interesting to follow, though, is how much damage control the presses and some fandoms are gonna make over it. Because, taking how clumsy it was, had it been the other way around…

      2. This year Ferrari has choose a new leader. Now ‘they’ see it.
        Another 20 years without WDC.

  2. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    12th July 2020, 17:28

    It would have been interesting to see where Ferrari would have ended up in this race as I’m not sure they had the pace of either the McLarens or Racing Points. Probably would have ended up scrapping with Kvyat for 10th.

    1. @rocketpanda – Considering the room for improvement with low fuel Charles showed last week, I guess it was possible that at least Vettel would be in the fight for 5th. Having started on mediums, he got opposite strategy to everyone ahead. At closing stages wearing softs, maybe there would be a chance.

  3. Charles messed up for sure. He’s admitted it, taken full responsibility for it & apologized to Seb & the team. He’s definitely not a driver you’d consider to be a repeat offender, so that’s the end of it, as far as I’m concerned. On to the next race.

    1. Unforunately I do believe given the young age fo Leclerc, as much as I respect him and fully realise his potential, he will be plagued with poor misjudgements like this for the next few years. You heard it here first. Charles will be crash happy.

    2. What all say if Vettel crashed Lecler? The same words?
      Yes, Ferrari thoughts they have a new leader, how far?

  4. Wasn’t his first reaction during the race “I’m sorry but there was nothing I could do?” I seem to recall the TV commentator saying that.

    1. Well, it might have been and it would have been perfectly true. Once he commited there was precious little he could do. He realized he fowled up and tried to kerb it, but he bounced and caused maximum damage.

      Saying there was nothing he could do is, well, true. Unless you expect a driver to make a broader analysis of his decisions and actions right on the head of the moment, and assume he meant there was nothing from the beginning of the race to that point he could have done to avoid the collision.

      I’d say it’s pretty clear, where he stands.

  5. Yes. I think everybody can agree Leclerc was at fault. But why he always talked like he was at the mercy of his master or something? What culture did Binoto create inside Ferrari?

    I never seen a long apology speech from other F1 drivers like that.

    1. More like the mercy of the Tifosi and Italian media, lol!

  6. Yes, 100% his fault, no doubt about that, and good that he also acknowledged this.

    1. Miles ahead of his team mate on and off the track 😉

  7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    12th July 2020, 20:05

    Vettel is a broken man. I don’t like it, he deserves more respect.

    He’s not the strongest mentally but with a team behind him he can achieve great things.

  8. Leclerc is still young and he is still learning. It was a stupid mistake and Ferrari paid the ultimate prize for that. Still this is his 3rd year in F1 and if he wants to be Ferraris leading driver these things can’t happen. Luckily for him Ferrari isn’t fighting the championship this season so maybe there was a silver lining in this.

    Ferrari made the decision to trust Leclerc and gave him multi year contract. These things happen time to time but how long Leclerc will make these mistakes and is Ferrari patient enough to keep him.

    He still have time to learn but the sooner he will stop making silly errors the better.

  9. Ferrari as a team are an embarrassment really.. 13 years without a championship for such big big team and spending over 350 million a year is shameful . At the end of the day they have nothing to show for and with this year car which really sucks I wonder if they can even come in top 4.

  10. He even admits guilt better than Vettel.

    But those Ferraris are slow, that is the real problem. They need to start cheating on the engine side, all their teams are slow, they seem like Renault in power, maybe even lower?

  11. It’s likely to be a tricky year for Leclerc. He’s effectively lead driver, despite being in only his 3rd season in F1 and with a 4x champion as team mate (!) but in a rubbish car, which makes showing any kind of leadership very difficult. So not only the pressure to lead the team, fend off an irritated outgoing team mate with a sore point to prove, negotiate a midfield keen to race each other and even more so beat the Ferraris, he also has to be sufficiently impressive to be the driver who Ferrari look to for a lead next year when the more experienced Sainz arrives. A bad year and Sainz could suddenly be seen as the safe pair of hands, not Leclerc.

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