Leclerc’s late defensive move “clearly not allowed in the rules” – Russell

2023 British Grand Prix

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George Russell says he was unable to get past Charles Leclerc early in the race as the Ferrari driver went unpunished for a defensive move which broke the regulations.

The Mercedes driver complained on his radio during the race that Leclerc had gone too far by changing his line to defend his position while they were in the braking zone at Vale.

“I did my best to overtake Charles,” Russell told media including RaceFans afterwards, “some questionable defending at points.”

“Under braking in turn 16, I was about to lunge him down the inside and right in the braking zone he came across pretty aggressively,” said Russell. “That’s clearly not allowed in the rules.”

He complained the stewards did not intervene over Leclerc’s defence, saying it cost him one of the few chances he had to get ahead.

“I think they gave him a slap on the wrist, but when you’ve got one overtaking opportunity and you get sort of a warning for it, it’s a bit frustrating,” said Russell.

However Russell, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, said he doesn’t plan to raise his concerns over Leclerc’s driving.

“I don’t feel I need to,” he added. “It was very borderline, I need to look at the video again it felt on the limit from within the car, or maybe just over the limit. I’ve not seen the replay, I’m not too concerned about it right now.”

Russell doubts he would have finished any higher if he had been able to pass Leclerc the first time he tried.

“It wouldn’t have changed my race,” he said. “Had I got past him, it probably would have meant I would have boxed even earlier. Probably both the McLarens would have pitted to cover me up, so I still probably would have finished fifth.”

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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12 comments on “Leclerc’s late defensive move “clearly not allowed in the rules” – Russell”

  1. It’s a good thing constant whining isn’t against the rules.

    1. As GR’s teammate conclusively proved last Sunday. No limits for snitching’ and crybabyn’ either.

      1. even in articles nothing to do with Ham you spread your stupid hate. seems like he kind of occupied your brain…

  2. Whine on Sunday, sell (a load of BMWs and Audis) on Monday.

  3. Leclerc always does this. He did similar with Hamilton this same race, moving twice under braking, enough to block Hamilton on the ideal overtaking lap. Done the same with Verstappen various times over the seasons. The Monza race where the stewards let him get away with a string of dodgy defensive moves (swerve-blocking , pushing off track, cutting the chicane…) I like his racer style but he actually gets away with more than any other driver now. In a sense it’s a part of how smart he is, knowing how far he can push the rules, picking the ideal moment to do so.

    1. Yes, some sketchy moves from Leclerc (Alonso also had a few of those in battles)

    2. Yellow Baron
      9th July 2023, 23:32

      What lap was this on? I only saw it from the cool down room after the race

    3. He doesn’t always do this. He started playing the game differently after Austria 2019, where Verstappen failed time and again to pass him cleanly because Leclerc did a great job defending, and then Verstappen eventually resorted to simply running Leclerc off the road. The stewards thought this was all good fun…

      Alonso is more blatant and vocal about ignoring rules he knows aren’t enforced, but Leclerc is also very much playing to the tune of the stewards.

      1. Robert Henning
        10th July 2023, 14:14

        Every driver does this.

        Some are labeled aggressive and crash-prone, others are labeled clean.

        Depends on who you ask and all.

  4. He unnecessarily went into the grey area, but fortunately, nothing went wrong.

  5. Everyone seems to baby Leclerc. Ferrari are constantly trying to sooth his ego and having Carlos defer to him every time he cries about something. Now the stewards seem to be getting into the same routine. I used to root for him but now I’m starting to question his mental makeup.

  6. On the one hand Russell says that Leclerc’s move should have been punished, and then he says it’s “borderline” so he won’t take it up with the GPDA. I think it’s just frustration getting over. But honestly, I don’t remember the move. Need to see it again. Am just saying based on what Russell said in the interview.

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