Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Leclerc given three-place grid penalty for Perez clash

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc has been given a three-place grid penalty for the final race of the season for his collision with Sergio Perez during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Ferrari was held responsible for the clash which ended his own race and caused Perez to spin, leaving him 18th. Max Verstappen also retired in the incident as he tried to drive around the spinning pair but hit a barrier.

After speaking to Leclerc and reviewing video of the collision, the stewards ruled he “braked too late into turn four, locking the front right wheel and colliding with car 11 which was taking the normal racing line into the corner.”

Leclerc was also given two penalty points for the collision, putting him on a total of three for the current 12-month period.

This article will be updated

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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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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34 comments on “Leclerc given three-place grid penalty for Perez clash”

  1. The right decision. It was Leclerc’s fault, and it was good of him to admit it after the race, when most drivers would have claimed it was a racing incident.

    1. Well he would have most likely got the grid drop so why fess up?

  2. A little while since an opening lap incident has led to any penalty. Nevertheless, rightly so. He simply had zero chance of succeeding from that far back. Perez had to start turning at some point anyway. BTW, still no rate the race.

    1. Perez went for the apex when he didn’t need to, as Brundel said at the time. Even if Leclerc didn’t lock up he was still alongside. I don’t know where he was expected to disappear to. Max meanwhile takes himself out without making contact with anyone and still blames Charles. This feels like a very harsh call to me.

      1. Leclerc was never alongside Perez before he locked up. Perez had every right to take the racing line.

        Here’s a capture which shows Leclerc already locking up and he’s nowhere near ‘alongside’ Perez. IMO, the stewards got this one spot on. Leclerc not only put himself out of the race, he also made Verstappen drive into the wall.


        1. Nowhere near? His front wing and front wheel are parallel to Perez’s rear in that picture. Maybe he couldn’t see Leclerc was locked up because it was the opposite side, but would you turn in on someone on the highway if their front wheels were alongside you? By the time Perez got to the apex Leclerc was already there.

    2. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      6th December 2020, 22:15

      Personally I think it was a generic racing incident where you have a few drivers with different overtakes going on at the same time. You have Leclerc going in to over take Max (I don’t think he was significantly entering the corner much faster than Max) and you have Perez who was doing a switch over on Bottas whom had to brake on the early side to clear Bottas and dive down to the apex. I don’t think anyone truly is at fault here. I’m a bit surprised on the penalty tbh, considering past first lap incidents.

      1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
        6th December 2020, 22:17

        Also, I don’t think Leclerc’s attempt was to over take Perez. I don’t think he expected Perez to come down and Perez didn’t think anyone was going to be at the apex as he was going for the switch over.

        1. I can only suggest you look at the footage again and possibly from different angles.

          1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
            7th December 2020, 15:06

            The aerial footage is the best view. It shows Leclerc’s entrance to the corner matched that of Max. Leclerc did not account for Perez to break earlier than the other around him to perform a switch back on Bottas that lead Perez to the apex. Yes, Leclerc should be blamed for it as he is the “trailing” car. The way I look at it, is that Perez is not entirely fault free either. He can not blindly assume no one will be there at the apex (especially at a race start and how bunched that group was). When a driver brakes early, you are leaving yourself open to someone filling that gap. I think the switch back was the wrong move in that situation and he should have hung on the outside of Bottas through that corner which is what Leclerc was expecting. Like I said, I view it as a racing incident. Not to mention this penalty is not in line with how past incidents have been handled. I actually think Leclerc’s incident with Stroll in Russia was more penalty worthy than this one, IMO.

  3. Hard to argue. Seemed to just need a little more patience there. Pretty incredible that Perez rebounded the way he did. I’m surprised his rear suspension survived the impact! Reminded me of barrichello steaming into the back of Alonso at the bus stop on lap 1 in 2010.

  4. lol Lec only has 3 points this year and Hamilton had nearly 12 at one point. That is just wrong, Lec has drove way dirtier.

  5. Leclerc is making this a habit. Last race too he dived into the corner on Vettel and only the latter ceding position prevented a collision. Some people rate him a little too highly.

    1. Yes, he’s driving very opportunistic and it stays a bit under the radar. Not that dissimilar to Max’ first few years at RB.

      1. @br444m to be fair, Max was never making his moves under the radar. His moves were absolutely wild, just like when he tried going three wide twice in this very race, then he had the nerve to say others were driving too pushy when it was him forcing himself into the middle of a three wide situation, twice.

        But yes, still, a bit opportunistic.

    2. Leclerc is a bit optimistic on lap 1, true. But that move on Seb last weekend wasn’t an example of it.

      But yeah, Leclerc can’t expect to win a championship by taking such risks on lap 1

  6. Rename Turn 4 to “Ramp”.

  7. I’m not blaming Perez but his cut for the apex was maybe a bit too optimistic. It left Leclerc a bit short of time to step down

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      6th December 2020, 22:19

      He was trying a switch over pass on Bottas which require early braking into the corner to allow Bottas to clear him so he could dive down… while Leclerc was shooting for the apex to overtake Max. Just a racing incident. Happens.

    2. Not at all, he was clear of Leclerc before Leclerc braked too late and locked up. Perez had every right to take the racing line.

      1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
        7th December 2020, 14:55

        I don’t disagree that Perez had every right to the apex (racing line) as he was ahead of both Max and Leclerc. I’m also not saying Leclerc is free of fault/blame. What I’m saying is that this was a “racing” accident (not deserving of penalties). Two drivers with two different passing attempts on different opponents. In this case, unfortunate as it maybe, lead to contact. Sure, Leclerc could have avoided all this by simply braking a little earlier looking back in hindsight. Perez also could have avoided this if not assuming that no one would be their looking back in hindsight (especially when he broke early to cut back on Bottas to get a better drive out). I do think Leclerc should take the blame as he’s the trailing car, but this is a racing incident.

        1. Very similar incidents have resulted in the same punishment. Leclerc was too far to the right to take the corner at anywhere close to the speed he was travelling. His mistake pushed Perez to the back of the field (doesn’t matter that he subsequently won the race) and resulted in Verstappen crashing out (even though I don’t think Verstappen was faultless there). Leclerc 100% caused that collision and the punishment seems fair to me.

  8. Yeah, Leclerc shouldn’t have locked it up, but Perez left a huge gap on the opening lap. With 3/4 of the field right behind him he doesn’t check the mirrors and cuts across to the apex? Brundel mentioned at the time that was risky and he paid the the price. Where was Leclerc was already alongside. Max was hit by nobody, took himself out but apparently it was Leclerc’s fault too?

    1. Well, Max had nowhere else to go, but surely he could have braked a little harder in order to avoid the wall. It seems to me like he wanted to avoid the mess while not losing too much speed, and he misjudged it.

    2. Leclerc was nowhere near level with Perez when Perez took the racing line, as he was fully entitled to do.

      Leclerc already locked up:

  9. Max hit the gravel, and could not steer or brake anymore. The car would only go straight ahead, into the wall.

  10. Max has thrown away 2 race wins in 3 races now. Turkey and now in Bahrain. Charless also needs to cut down the mistakes.

    1. What mistake did Max make in Sakhir?

  11. Vettel keeps complaining about these dive down the inside shenanigans of Leclerc.

    1. Don’t worry I am very happy leclerc got penalty finally he will give up this diving habit also I think with a better car hopefully next year he would go over the limit and take lesser risk

  12. These comments defending LeClerc are hilarious and made by people that do not race. I do. In real time I blamed this on LeClerc and accused Brundle of being blind, although he later corrected himself.

    1. Agreed, not exactly rocket science to see what went wrong here. Textbook rookie mistake -with a fuel heavy car- from Charles. Dealt with by the stewarts. Lets move on

  13. I guess the problem is that Leclerc has nothing to lose and knows the first lap is the only time he can gain some positions.

    At least he got a penalty for it this time. Like he should have had in Styria (taking out Vettel) and Russia (taking out Stroll).

    1. Yes I blame the stewards they should have penalized him in Russia and also status . That would have done him a lot told of good and by now he wouldn’t have tried this move in yesterday’s race .we could have seen some excellent battles up front

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