Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Leclerc accepts grid penalty was stewards’ only choice

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc says aggressive starts have been the secret to his 2020 points haul, despite collecting a penalty for his first-lap collision with Sergio Perez.

What they say

Leclerc has a three-place grid penalty for this weekend’s race for hitting Perez at turn four at the Sakhir Grand Prix, an incident which also led to Max Verstappen’s retirement:

I didn’t give a choice to the stewards, basically, because by not finishing the race, then I had to get a penalty somehow. The only thing that was possible for them is to penalise me for the next race. So, yeah, it is the way it is and now it’s like this.

I think I’ve gained a lot in some of the races in the first lap, which helped me to gain a lot of points this year. It happens that sometimes it just goes doesn’t go my way, which it didn’t last weekend and it didn’t in Austria at the beginning of the year.

At the end of the day, I’ve also gained a lot of points with that and I’ll try to choose better the fights, because obviously gaining a position to Max was not going to bring us anywhere in a better position because Max was anyway quicker than us. But anyway, it’s past and it’s like this. I will learn from it and that’s it.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Hufggfg suggests, as Hamilton has been cleared to race in Abu Dhabi, a new way to mix up proceedings. Although whoever wins, Jack Aitken loses…

As others have said, while I wish Hamilton well, from the perspective of wanting an interesting race this is disappointing news.

Now, what would be really interesting is if Hamilton went and did the race in the Williams, and let Russell drive the Mercedes.

Hamilton has already sewn up the championship, and it’s unlikely to make a difference in the constructor’s championship (unless he does incredibly well in the Williams), but it would be really interesting to watch, and a way for Hamilton to prove the depth of his talents.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 25 comments on “Leclerc accepts grid penalty was stewards’ only choice”

    1. The main thing missing from Hamilton’s career is doing something spectacular and unexpected with a car that supposed to be able to. Make a list of top drivers and they all have drives like that — Vettel in Torro Rosso, Schumi in Jordan, Senna in Toleman…

      So I agree with the COTD that it would fantastic for Hamilton to drive the Williams, but he has too much to lose to do it… imagine if he got beat, even if only by 0.026 seconds, by Latifi!?!

      1. I think going toe to toe with Fernando in 2007 for the entire season was Lewis’ unlikely accomplishment. If I had to pick one race, I’d go with Fuji that year. I don’t think the pace of the McLaren should in any way diminish just how extraordinary Lewis was in his rookie season. 9 straight podiums at the start of one’s F1 career is simply incredible.

        1. @tommy-c makes a good point.

          I would also say that he was fairly impressive in 2009, getting reasonable results at the start and then getting wins and podiums in the second half while HK was still nowhere – the MP4-24 was not a great car.

          Ultimately there’s not much left for Hamilton to prove in F1.

          1. That was after Mclaren fixed the chassis in the second half of the season which was when he won, also its easier to win in a bad Mclaren and Ferrari then than a good Caterham.
            I mean Kimi won in the Ferrari and it was worse than the Mclaren.

      2. From a holistic viewpoint…What about the 2009 Season, Mclaren produced a far-of-the-mark car that year with all the regulations changes? Hamilton had a lot of poor results and yet pulled that car to 2 victories that year, he helped the team develop the car through the season.

        From a single race perspective…I think his wet weather skill showed full force in the 2008 British Grand Prix, finishing the race with over a minute back to 2nd place and lapping all but 2 other cars?

      3. I’ve seen Lewis drag half of the korean Turf with him and still manage to score a point.
        Teams chose drivers because they believe they will perform. If a driver has proven himself in the lower formulae and F1 teams are convinced they have what it takes, why should the driver have to prove a point to you.
        Russell is in Williams because he came into F1 with no competitive team having an opening. It was his performance in GP2 that convinced Williams to employ his services.

      4. @x1znet There are plenty of those. Hamilton winning races in that 2009 disaster of a car. Turkey 2006 in F2. Silverstone 2008. Germany 2018. The 2018 WDC against a much faster Ferrari. 2019 winning half of the races where Ferrari or Red Bull were on bole. Leclerc had 7 poles and Hamilton won 3 of those, plus he won one of Vettels poles and one of Verstappen’s poles.

        Of course when Hamilton wins it’s always put down as “Yeah easy, he has the faster car” regardless. So what’s the point?

        1. @f1osaurus

          Don’t really think 2006 in GP2 (not F2 as you say) counts when we’re talking about F1 careers and F1 races solely here.

          I really think you have a flawed logic, which I’ve seen pretty consistent across a lot of your statements that pole position = fastest car in every case. This isn’t true, sure the Ferrari last year was often on pole but I don’t think many could argue that it was the fastest car. I’d hardly also say that the 2018 Ferrari was ‘much faster’ that the Mercedes, maybe it was at points but certainly not across the whole season.

          Your Hamilton fanboy-ism blinds you to reality.

    2. People always amazed by the last thing they’ve just seen. So for a week it was Grosjean. Then Russell. Then Schumacher.
      And now we get COTD with complete nonsense like: « what if they switch teams in the season ». How far can you be from F1 contract and understanding to say this?

      Get some homeworks guys, the sport has a 70-year history.

      1. So, you wouldn’t want to see it, just for educational and entertainment purposes?
        Who cares about F1’s history if its present and future is dull, boring and predictable.

      2. How far can you be from F1 contract and understanding to say this?

        Does the contract stipulate that fans cannot dream and say “Now, what would be really interesting is …”?

        1. Go watch soccer. Here is the automotive industry.
          Like you drivers are employees. If you’re a car dealer for Mercedes, will you switch for BMW just for a weekend? It makes no sense.

      3. We should also listen to the opinions of two year olds, everyone’s idea is important

    3. Just read that Checo has a 10-place penalty. Given the difficulty of overtaking in Abu Dhabi, we might end up seeing Perez and Russel fight again but for P10-P15 result. Such difference a week makes.

      1. For what? somethign engine or GB related?

      2. @sumedh Where? Nothing reported (yet) on this site or a couple of others I checked.

        1. He’s right:

    4. Assume new engine and MGU K if it’s true – nothing on line yet. That engine he won with last week was old already. Probably think it is too much of a risk to go again. Can map it to run at close to 100% for the whole of the race knowing it needs to only make one race – will be much easier to overtake if on full Merc power!

    5. Noticed 20th out of 22 in that F2 test was Roberto Merhi. Really? Come on guy, your time in single seaters has surely passed. Move along.

    6. And here we were thinking he was just being clumsy, now it turns out he is intentionally aggressive. That will cost him next time now the stewarts know. I have always seen the benefit of this behavior for young drivers. Max had a similar period. On this forum the less experienced viewers then start complaining and dismissing those drivers. First of all these fans dont realise that also their hero had a similar period when he started. Secondly they dont realise that their hero became their hero partly because of it. What it does is setting a reputation. Fellow drivers now know when battling them they run the risk of being eliminated. The exact opposite feeling they have when battling Bottas. Need I say more? It was Brundle I believe who said about Senna: he would leave it up to you whether their would be a crash. So it is a mental thing making them fear you. Ofcourse they need to improve at it by not locking up etc. That will come. I remember countless of these moments with Hamilton. Lauda making statements about Lewis being mentally insane etc. Its all part of the learning curve but also part of intentionally setting the seen for your fellow drivers. You dont become a WDC overnight (unless your Vettel and stumble over a car your grandma would have won 4 titles with). So, I really am no Charles fan, but what he is doing will pay off for him.

      1. The exact opposite feeling they have when battling Bottas.

        Not the Williams Bottas; Kimi can confirm.

    7. He gave Max karma.

    8. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      11th December 2020, 9:35

      to encourage and support engineers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds into engineering is a perfect fit, as we look to widen our appeal and increase the diversity of the talent within our team

      Mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it’s not blatant ‘we wont hire people with skincolor X or Gender Y’, which some companies see as a proper push for diversity. However, I’m still not sure whether helping a specific group based on their background or skincolor (which, regardless of how you feel about it, is racism) and not doing the same for other groups is a good thing.

      If you need to spend extra money to reach a certain group, would that money not be better spend on a group you’ve already reached and improve their quality? Regardless of background. I’d say in Formula 1 every tiny time advantage that could be won would be grabbed with both hands, so naturally it’s in the teams best interests to get the best possible person for each job. To make due with less only for the sake of being able to advertise with ‘hey look at us, we check this one box!!’ seems a bit silly.

      1. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

    9. Lol @ Verstappen stealing a chair

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