Leclerc: Wake from Perez’s car contributed to collision with Stroll

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said he collided with Lance Stroll on the first lap of the Russian Grand Prix because he understeered in the slipstream of the Racing Point driver’s team mate.

Leclerc was side-by-side with Stroll in turn, following Sergio Perez, when the collision happened.

“I tried to go on the inside of Lance in turn four,” said Leclerc. “Then in the middle of the corner Perez took the apex.

“When I was behind him, I understeered quite a bit and then we made contact with Lance.”

The contact spun Stroll into a barrier on the inside of the track, ending his race. He was unimpressed with his rival’s driving.

“I got clipped by Leclerc,” said Stroll. “Very sloppy from his part.

“I gave him all the room. I was on the outside of the corner and he just clipped my right rear tyre. I’m quite surprised. I think it was avoidable from his end.”

Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer said Stroll was blameless for the collision.

“It was a bittersweet race with Lance being taken out of the race on lap one – through no fault of his own – when Leclerc hit his right rear tyre. That spun Lance around and into the wall.

“It’s a massive shame because he had made a superb start and was already up in seventh right behind [Sergio Perez]. Given the pace of the car, it’s frustrating that Lance couldn’t score the points he deserved today.”

The stewards noted the incident during the race but it was not investigated.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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25 comments on “Leclerc: Wake from Perez’s car contributed to collision with Stroll”

  1. Quite surprised Leclerc wasn’t investigated for causing a collision

    1. Not surprised at all, clearly a racing incident. Look at the on board video of Leclerc and see his steering wheel position. Both racing hard on edge and it appeared he was giving Stroll space until the car turned wider than his steering wheel.

      1. @redpill The exact Same thing happened with Hamilton on Albon, yet Hamilton did get a penalty. Even though Hamilton was on old tyres and Albon still had enough space on his left.

        1. Ssshhh, don’t spoil the narrative.

          Personally I have no problem with leclerc not getting a penalty, what is more cause for concern is that it wasn’t even investigated. Mika Salo is ex Ferrari isn’t he?

          1. Mika Salo is ex Ferrari isn’t he?

            So is Stroll :P

        2. 1st lap incidents are viewed more leniently

          1. Selectively.

        3. it has been the case for years now they they are far more slack on penalties in the opening lap.If this happened later on, Leclerc would have got a penalty, but regarding other similar incidents on the first lap in the last few years, I see the consistency here.

      2. @redpill the thing is, there have been cases where drivers have been investigated, and penalised, for causing an accident on the first lap in similar circumstances.

        Even if the outcome would have been that no further action was warranted, given that other similar incidents have been investigated, the expectation has been set that there should have at least been further investigation of that case – for example, the Styrian GP had Leclerc investigated for running into the back of Vettel, even if no penalty was applied in the end.

        That no action was taken by the stewards at all has resulted in people asking why this case was any different to previous cases that have been investigated this season.

        1. That is fair enough and valid point. There should have been a record of it. We do need cleaner racing in first lap so all the racers have a better chance to be able continue to race after the 1st lap. Looking at the video it does appear he was giving Stroll room until the car didn’t point in the direction of the steering wheel. Stroll who put himself in a risky spot as it was mentioned before the race that dirty wash was effecting the cars in this race. Not at all putting blame on Stroll as he was going for a pass but it was a dicey move betting that the cars on the inside of him with cool tires and that the aero package had enough in it to not make the car slide (understeer). The bet was lost.

      3. @redpill the stewards still have to note the incident and most likely investigate it or deem it as no further investigation. Wait let me guess, there are no rules about how the stewards are supposed to handle incidents. They can apparently investigate anything they choose to…

        1. Thats is fair enough.

  2. Key difference is that Hamilton did it near the end of the race while this happened at start of lap 1.
    Any incidents in the first half lap of the race are most often declared racing incident – only in extreme cases or clear wrongdoing will it be investigated or penalized.

    1. Wasn’t Hamilton/Albon after a SC restart? which is effectively worse than a normal race start because they’ve been behind the SC for multiple laps with stone cold tyres and brakes.

    2. Stroll had left hin enough room yet Leclerc had brainfart to attack there and take out another driver.

    3. Also do you expect Stroll to drive over the the orange sausage kerbs and into runoff area in order to avoid hitting Leclerc(who at no point was anywhere near front wheel of Stroll)? This was one of the times which deserves penalty and Leclerc being a goon wasn’t even investigated.

  3. Excuses. All cars are close to each other at the beginning.

  4. Ferrari International Assistance.

  5. I’m confused as to how it is possible to note an incident and not investigate it. Surely there then has to be an investigation to determine whether the note needs acting upon or not? Otherwise, it’s a waste of time to note the incident…

    1. I wish to emphasise there is precedent for handling the incident either as a racing incident or as a penalty for Leclerc. My objection is that apparently the stewards couldn’t even be bothered to do the one thing a notation requires of them, which is to say “investigate the incident”. That is like using an using an opening bracket in a sentence and then never closing it (assuming this isn’t part of an emoji or something like that).

      (Just to show how wrong the stewards’ actions were…

      I’m reluctant to call it favouritism because this is the third separate bad call made by stewards this race, after counting. I’d say “go home stewards, you’re drunk” but by this point they already are home… They certainly do not deserve the defence from Mr Masi that they are getting.

  6. Leclerc got points and Lance was taken out it should be investigated and not ignored. Even if they see it as racing accident they should say that.

    1. depending on how careless they think the driver has been, they have for the past few years been significently more slack against penalties on the first lap. I keep seeing people bring up comparisons of other incidents that get penalties but they are much later on in the race. Incidents are far more likely to happen at the start where the tyres are cold and the cars are all congested together so to me despite it being leclerc to blame, i think no penalty is appropriate here and is consistent to what has been done for years now.

      Last race as another example, there was chaos at the start. Gasly and kimi both had some input in forcing verstappen to retire and punting grosjean into the barriers, but it didn’t get investigated. Sainz spun himself and broke vettel’s front wing. even though many things clearly have a driver to blame, the first lap doesn’t seem to get penalties unless it is an incredibly careless move that the stewards think could have been extremely easy to avoid.

  7. Leclerc is managed by Nico Todt and races for Ferrari. So, no wonder he wasn’t even invesitigated for this, as he wasn’t for racing without his seatbelt.

    1. Black & white flag was introduced after Leclerc was not punished in 2019 German GP for unsafe pit release.

  8. On Mika Salo’s evidence, the stewards were obviously far too busy with the much more important matter of how many points they could deduct from Hamilton’s license to look at a mere racing event.

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