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Why Leclerc "backed off" from Verstappen safety car pass

Why Leclerc "backed off" from Verstappen safety car pass

F1 News

Why Leclerc "backed off" from Verstappen safety car pass

Why Leclerc "backed off" from Verstappen safety car pass

Charles Leclerc has revealed the reason why he opted not to pass Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver suffered a 'tank slapper' moment during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Prior to the restart following the red-flag period for the heavy crash between F1 rivals Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, Verstappen momentarily lost control of the rear of his Red Bull.

With Ferrari driver Leclerc following directly behind, there appeared a small window of opportunity for the Monégasque to pass and take up the lead.

McLaren's Lando Norris has claimed he would have gone for a move, but Leclerc is confident he made the right call in staying behind Verstappen. "I considered it at one point but at the same time I backed off," said Leclerc.

"I think, looking back at it, it was the right choice because I think he always had one wheel on the track so I backed off because he didn’t completely spin.

“I thought about it but it was too late and he was already back in front.”

Leclerc, who went on to finish fourth, has also revealed he drove without team radio for the 29 laps after the restart.

Asked why he lost considerable ground on eventual winner Verstappen as the race resumed, he explained: “I think there was a succession of things.

"First, I got quite surprised by his first spin but that was not the reason for the bad start after that.

“Second, I had no radio at that point. I didn’t have any radio, we had a radio problem for the whole second stint so I was also checking whether I had everything at the right place in terms of buttons."

Conceding "it wasn't a great restart from my side", Leclerc added: “But then I think the one that played the biggest part in that is that just before the actual restart he had a small snap.

"I expected him, after the snap, to just wait a bit before going again but he actually went just after and I got surprised."

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