Leclerc handed TWO post-race penalties following Verstappen clash
Charles Leclerc has been handed not one but TWO punishments from the FIA following a collision with Max Verstappen on turn two of the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.
The incident took place in the opening lap as Leclerc appeared to squeeze the space available to Max Verstappen following a slow start off the grid, resulting in the two cars coming together to cause significant damage to the Red Bull.
Verstappen was forced to retire from the race early, while Leclerc damaged his front wing only to continue to drive for another few laps before eventually going into the pit to be fitted with a replacement.
After initially deeming the situation to be within regulations, the FIA announced a short time later that it would be reviewed again after the race, and the have sanctioned Leclerc for two separate infractions.
The first is a five-second race penalty, finding Leclerc to be 'predominantly' at fault for the crash with Verstappen. The second, however, has been imposed for driving his Ferrari 'in an unsafe condition' in the laps that followed.
His front wing was scraping along the track causing sparks to fly and eventually it broke off, with a piece impacting the mirror of Lewis Hamilton in behind.
The FIA said: "This piece of wing narrowly avoided an impact in the area of the cockpit of car 44 [Hamilton] and destroyed the right-side mirror of car 44.
“After this second piece detached, the team felt the car was now in a safe condition and despite previously telling the Race Director that the car would be called to the pits, they told car 16 to remain out and not to pit.
“On lap 3 the Race Director called the team and directed the car be brought to the pits for inspection. Car 16 pitted at the end of lap three.
“By not bringing car 16 into the pits at the end of lap one, immediately after the incident for a safety inspection when there was damage clearly visible and then by telling the driver to remain out for an additional lap after telling the Race Director otherwise, the team created an unsafe condition on the circuit which only narrowly avoided being a major incident and also increased the likelihood of additional incidents after the one noted.”
Leclerc has therefore been hit with a further 10-second time penalty, demoting his final race position to P7. Ferrari, meanwhile, have been slapped with a €25,000 fine.
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