Brundle: Leclerc ‘lucky’ not to get penalty

Shahida Jacobs
Valtteri Bottas expects Mercedes to take a "solid" step up in performance with their new aero update in Japan.

Martin Brundle says Charles Leclerc “was lucky” not to get a five-second penalty for his “robust” defending against Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari tasted success at Monza for the first time since 2010 as Leclerc won from pole, but some eyebrows were raised over some of the defensive moves he pulled off against Hamilton.

He squeezed the Mercedes driver off the track at one point, but no penalty was given as race stewards opted to give him a warning with the black-and-white flag for bad sportsmanship.

FIA race director Michael Masi later revealed the reasoning behind the decision, but Brundle feels he should’ve received a time penalty.

“First off it was Lewis Hamilton applying all the pressure and looking like the potentially faster combo,” he wrote in his Sky Sports F1 column.

“On a number of occasions Leclerc was very robust in defending, pushing the limits of several regulations. He was lucky to get a driving-standards warning flag rather than a five-second penalty when crowding Hamilton into the braking area of the second chicane, having already been dancing around through the previous flat-out Curva Grande.

“Max Verstappen took a penalty last year in very similar circumstances in combat with Valtteri Bottas, and at other times or with different stewards Leclerc could have been handed the same pain.

“It was tough to call, and I’m very supportive of this ‘let them race’ philosophy so long as it’s consistent and the drivers don’t take liberties and spoil it all.”

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