Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Nurburgring, 2020

Stroll surprised Leclerc avoided penalty for race-ending Sochi clash

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll says he was surprised Charles Leclerc avoided a penalty for the collision between the pair on the first lap of the Russian Grand Prix.

The Racing Point driver crashed out of the race after being hit by Leclerc at turn four. Stroll said there was nothing more he could have done to prevent contact between the two.

“I gave him all the room I could and he clipped my right-rear,” said Stroll. “I think it was a little bit sloppy from his end.

“He had all the room on the right to avoid it. I was all the way to the edge of the circuit on the left. And unfortunately, he just kind of tagged my right rear and that was the end of my race.

“We’re racing wheel to wheel on the opening lap, these things happen.”

Stroll said the collision was similar to the contact between Lewis Hamilton and Alexander Albon at the Red Bull Ring, which resulted in a penalty for the Mercedes driver.

“It was hard for me to understand afterwards why there was no action taken on something like that,” said Stroll. “It was very similar, if I look back at the incident between Albon and Hamilton in Austria, there was a very similar incident to the one of mine and Charles, and there was no action. There was action taken on that incident, but not any action taken on the one between me and Charles.

“So I was a little bit surprised. But it’s racing, these things happen. We can’t change the past now. We just have to look forward and move on.”

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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 “Stroll surprised Leclerc avoided penalty for race-ending Sochi clash”

  1. The Albon-Hamilton incident didn’t happen on the opening lap, but still somewhat comparable.

    1. When it happened should be irrelevant, even if you don’t penalise the driver in the race because it’s lap one, they need to start considering giving out penalty points for taking out other drivers. That way those who frequently dan dare into corners on lap one expecting others to back off will start racking up points like they should for poor driving standards.

      Same for issuing them for drivers who will not race fair and frequently move in braking zones, weave on straights and leave no space for other cars.

      The Albon-Hamilton incident should never have been a penalty to start with as Albon turned in when he had over a cars width outside of him on the track thus triggering contact. At best it was a racing incident but a more balanced view is Albon was more to blame for the contact occurring. It seems the stewards have agreed with that viewpoint in numerous incidents that have followed afterwards that did not involve Hamilton…

    2. I do think there are similarities between that and the collision between Stroll and Leclerc, and that it’s not enough just to write it off as a ‘lap one incident’ to explain why there was no penalty for Leclerc. The more significant fact, in my view, is that Leclerc was clearly not trying to run Stroll wide to prevent from losing a place – he just understeered wide and into the Racing Point.

      The incident in Austria was caused because Hamilton tried to do what he always does when he has a driver to his outside, and squeeze him at the corner exit so that he has no choice but to back off or run wide. But Albon was already too far past Hamilton to see it coming, so there was contact. 100% Hamilton’s fault and the penalty was probably generous, if anything.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        8th October 2020, 15:38

        Very good description comparing them @red-andy

        I’ve often been hard on Leclerc, but i can understand why he got no penalty for this.

      2. You mean Hamilton sticks to his racing line and allows the exact amount of space that is allowed as per the actual regulations. Hamilton had nowhere to go and Albon turned in having still got space outside, ergo not Hamilton’s fault for contact. Funny how when Verstappen ran Hamilton off the road last year it was perfectly acceptable for the driver ahead to be denied any room in a corner and run wide.

        1. @slowmo
          “ergo not Hamilton’s fault “
          Lol, the stewards disagree with you; tell us again what your experience in F1 racing is…….?

          1. About the same as yours I’d guess

        2. @slowmo Exactly and then the stewards act all surprised when confronted with the fact that they are punishing harder than other drivers.

        3. Mr Stuart Bennett
          9th October 2020, 1:59

          @slowmo was my point at the time that Albon had all the room and then some. Was well inside usual line and overly aggressive for a pass that was already done.

      3. @red-andy Leclerc also claimed he simply understeered into Verstappen in Japan 2019 on the first lap. He got a penalty.

        Understeer just means the driver should have pressed the throttle pedal a little less to the metal.

        Hamilton was not trying to run Albon of the road, he was trying to give Albon as much space as he needs. Albon decided that he wanted more space, turned in and drove over Hamilton’s front wheel. Losing himself the race.

    3. @jerejj It’s more similar to the lap 1 incident between Leclerc and Verstappen in Japan 2019. Leclerc did get a penalty.

      Also different, Albon had a lot more space on the left and could have avoided the accident. Stroll was already at the edge of the track.

  2. Jose Lopes da Silva
    8th October 2020, 14:53

    Well, life isn’t always fair. I was also surprised to see Perez booted from your team, but it is what it is.

  3. Is he still going on about this? This story was published shortly after Russia too. Get over it.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      8th October 2020, 15:42

      The media ask drivers questions and they answer… They also always ask questions about the previous race at the beginning of the current race weekend.

      If you ask is he “still” going on about it then confirm that the story was published far earlier, it sort of makes the first start of your sentence irrelevant.

  4. Go, run and tell daddy, can’t let the other kids treat you like that

    1. Oooooh! Tetchy are we.

  5. Agree. 1st lap incidents should be punishable too.

    1. @balue They are. Leclerc got a penalty for the same offence on Verstappen in Japan 2019 on lap 1.

      1. Consistently, and turn 1-2 too.

  6. Not even a notorious “black and white flag” this time for Leclerc. Leclerc is treated like a God by the stewards. “What is permissible for Jupiter may not permissible for a bull” (Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi). Shame!

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      8th October 2020, 19:15

      Loved your quote.
      I think Stroll is a decent Iovi, among a bunch of bovis, from Perez to De Vries.

  7. The eye passes over one incident, and yet bores into another. Some person gets boot to the neck. Some person gets the helping hand.

  8. Problem IMO isn’t Leclerc didnt get a penalty (it was a lap one incident where things were more hectic), problem is the stewards didnt even investigate it in the first place.

  9. I guess things even themselves out in some small way in the long run after Stroll’s clumsy move to escort Ricciardo off track for the overtake in Austria.
    To be fair,that incident wasn’t race ending for anyone but the move should have been looked at by the stewards and positions swapped.

  10. 2 weeks of tears … spot the spoiled child …

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