‘Erratic’ Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll under spotlight after ‘road rage’ incidents

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, alongside Lando Norris, McLaren, at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc alongside Lando Norris.

13-time race winner David Coulthard criticised Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll for setting a “bad example” for junior drivers with their actions at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The final practice session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya turned into a rather hot-headed affair at the weekend with Ferrari driver Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Stroll finding themselves at the centre of two instances of ‘road rage’.

Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll ‘bad example’ set, claims DC

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

After catching an unaware Lewis Hamilton on the approach to Turn 5, Stroll would follow Hamilton – trying to let him through – in taking a wide line through the corner and making light contact with the Mercedes driver.

Analysing the incident for Channel 4, Coulthard believes Stroll was trying to “put some manners on” Hamilton with his actions.

He said: “This to me, from behind, you would say just, ‘Oh, we’ve got Lance there running a little bit wide’, but we see it from the onboard, it looks to me as if he knows very much that he’s trying to put some manners on Lewis Hamilton and drives his car wide.”

Shortly after, Leclerc appeared to move over on McLaren’s Lando Norris and brake, feeling the Brit had impeded him into Turn 7. More hefty contact and a damaged front wing for Norris was the result.

Coulthard similarly felt Leclerc would find it “very difficult” to argue that his actions were not intentional, predicting reprimands at least for both, which is what the stewards settled on, ruling the incidents both cases of “erratic” driving.

However, Coulthard took a bigger-picture approach in criticising Leclerc and Stroll, saying what they did sets a “bad example” to up and coming racers who are watching Formula 1 and honing their craft in hope of one day joining the grid.

“We also had the same thing with Charles Leclerc on Lando Norris, and it’s going to be very difficult for Charles to say that he didn’t deliberately position his car in front of Lando,” Coulthard continued.

“Deliberate actions like that, as much as I like all of these guys involved, it sets a bad example to others in the lower formulas.”

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Leclerc, when asked for his version of events by PlanetF1.com, reflected on the Norris incident as a “misunderstanding”.

“My version is very simple,” he said. “Lando exited the pit lane and I was behind on a push lap then when he aborted I also aborted it.

“I braked to be alongside him and I misjudged it. On the right I didn’t want to impede either the cars behind and so I was a bit in the middle by being frustrated and looking in a mirror to try not to impede and we collided, but it was a misunderstanding more than anything.”

He went on to add that it was “never the goal” to intentionally collide with Norris.

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