Published: Wed, October 16, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Verstappen hits out at "irresponsible" Leclerc

Verstappen hits out at

Max Verstappen was unhappy with the stewards' decisions during the Japanese Grand Prix and labelled Charles Leclerc's driving as "irresponsible" after their collision.

When it eventually failed, carbon fibre hit Lewis Hamilton's vehicle, as evidenced by pock marks on the Mercedes' halo, while a part became lodged in Lando Norris' brakes, causing them to overheat and forcing McLaren into an unscheduled pit-stop.

"From the auto it was just a tricky situation".

The post-race investigation of the Leclerc and Verstappen incident on lap 1 has resulted in a 5-second time penalty and a further 10-seconds time penalty for continuing to drive the vehicle in an "unsafe condition" after the lap 1 incident. And then they start to investigate it but now it's after the race.

The first penalty of 5s was awarded to the Monegasque for forcing Max Verstappen off track on the first lap of the race.

Leclerc defended himself said it was a tricky scenario'.

Leclerc made contact with Verstappen on lap one at Suzuka with carbon fibre shedding on the circuit as he drove several laps with parts of his front wing dragging on the asphalt. "I have no idea [about a penalty], I need to see the incident". Later on that lap, after Turn 14 a larger section of front wing detached and impacted Hamilton's Mercedes which was closely following.

After this second piece detached, the team felt the vehicle was now in a safe condition and despite previously telling the race director that the auto would be called to the pits, they told vehicle Leclerc to remain out and not to pit.

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The youngster was further penalised for driving his vehicle in an unsafe condition, in that he received front wing damage in the incident in Turn 2 and continued on after the incident and did not pit at the end of lap 1.

On lap 2, anticipating a call about the vehicle, the team told the race director that it was calling Leclerc into the pits at the end of lap 2.

It read: "The vehicle continued on after the incident and did not pit at the end of lap 1".

While Leclerc went on to finish the race seventh, the contact eventually led to Verstappen's retirement and to a scathing criticism of his rival, the Red Bull charger calling Leclerc's move a case of "irresponsible driving", which Palmer found a tad paradoxical. He was given an additional five seconds for his role in the collision with Verstappen and a further 10 seconds for driving around with a damaged auto.

"We had a really good start for once, that was positive, and then I just stayed on the outside and suddenly into Turn 2, Charles drove into the side of my vehicle", he told Sky Sports talking through the incident.

The resultant time penalty of 15-seconds has dropped Leclerc from sixth to seventh position at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix. "From my side I don't think I could have done anything different there". They had a bad start so for sure he was just trying to recover places but there's only as much as you can do and it's still a very long race. "It's a shame that it happens".

"The weird thing is initially they didn't investigate it right away but my whole auto is destroyed, the whole side".

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