Leclerc hit with three-place grid drop for Abu Dhabi

Date published: December 6 2020

Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc has been hit with a three-place grid drip for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for causing a collision on the first lap in Sakhir.

Leclerc’s race at the Sakhir Grand Prix was over after just four corners after a lock-up and collision with Sergio Perez, who then remarkably went on to drop from last and rise all the way back to P1, and the incident also ended Max Verstappen’s race early.

The Dutchman tried to take avoiding action but went too far wide off the track and hit the barrier after trying to negotiate his way through the gravel trap.

The incident was investigated by the stewards after the race and they promptly decided Leclerc was at fault for the accident and have issued him with a three-place grid drop for the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

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‘The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 16 (Charles Leclerc), team representatives and have reviewed multiple angles of video evidence,’ the FIA statement read.

‘Car 16 braked too late into Turn 4, locking the front right wheel and colliding with Car 11 which was taking the normal racing line into the corner.

‘Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 10.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.’

Leclerc, who has also had two penalty points added to his license to take him to a total of three in a 12-month period, felt if there was blame to be dished out, then he was the driver to receive it.

“I was in fifth I think and I was side-by-side a bit behind Max and tried to overtake him into Turn 4,” he told Sky F1.

“I had seen Checo but I expected him to go around the outside of Valtteri and stay there but I think he decided to come back on the inside and I was there and then it was too late to slow down.

“I don’t think it’s a mistake from Checo, I’m not putting the blame on Checo if there is anyone to blame today it’s me.

“But I’d say it’s more unfortunate than a blame.”

Leclerc’s retirement keeps him on a total of 98 points for the 2020 season with just one race remaining. His team-mate for next season, Carlos Sainz, is just one point behind following his P4 finish at the Sakhir Grand Prix for McLaren.

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