Leclerc explains why he didn't pass Verstappen on restart

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc has explained why he did not pass Max Verstappen during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix winner's brief off at the race's safety car restart.

Leclerc explains why he didn't pass Verstappen on restart

Verstappen was leading the pack around for a rolling start following the race's suspension after the massive accident that eliminated Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, but lost control of his Red Bull at the first Rivazza turn just before he was due to resume racing speed.

The Red Bull speared left over the kerbs on the corner's inside, but critically appeared to keep at least some part of one his right side wheels on the track throughout the incident – his right front being back on the track when his right rear briefly came off.

When asked by Motorsport.com if he had considered passing Verstappen or simply choose to back off, Leclerc replied "I did both" before explaining he was right not to try passing because of Verstappen just barely being still on the road ahead.

Read Also:

In any case, if Leclerc had gone by, Verstappen would have been allowed to try and get back past so long as he did so before the first safety car line, as rolling start restarts are considered to be the same conditions as a race formation lap – something Leclerc had benefitted from when he spun off at Acque Minerali ahead of the initial start.

Leclerc would likely have not being penalised for overtaking Verstappen had he done so as a result of the rules distinction for rolling starts, unlike the race's earlier safety car overtaking incident involving Sergio Perez, who “upon re-joining the track [after going off at Piratella under the Nicholas Latifi/Mick Scuhamcher safety car], he then passed the two cars that had proceeded on the track past the point of his incident, which he was not entitled to do”, per the Imola event stewards.

"I considered it," Leclerc continued, "at one point, but I at the same time backed off. I think looking back at it, it was the right choice because I think he always had one wheel on the track.

"And so, I backed off and because he didn't completely spin, obviously, as we've seen. So, I thought about it but it was too late and he was already back in front."

Verstappen described his "moment in the restart" as "a big one", before joking that "there was some secret tyre warming going on!"

Read Also:

McLaren's Lando Norris, who was following the pair and overtook Leclerc when he lost ground to Verstappen when the leader finally took the pack back to racing speed just before the finish line a few second after the Rivazza incident, disagreed with Leclerc's decision.

"I had a great view of it – it's quite funny," he said. "I think Charles could've gone past, in my opinion.

"At that stage, Max was out of control and going left and Charles can't just hit the brakes and slow down and stop, at some point he has to go past Max because he was facing the barrier for a lot of the corner.

"I dunno – we have to maybe ask the guys in charge what the exact ruling is. But going off track, then it's all four wheels off track and the example of yesterday [were Norris lost his best Q3 time for fractionally running too wide at Piratella].

"But at the same time, Max was going very slow so it's like Leclerc could've driven past him at that point. I'm not sure. If I was in P2 I think I would've gone for it, because you have a chance of winning then. So, it's a risk [that's] worth it."

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton: Rush to pass lapped F1 cars triggered Imola crash
Previous article

Hamilton: Rush to pass lapped F1 cars triggered Imola crash

Next article

Stroll hit with post-race penalty, drops to eighth

Stroll hit with post-race penalty, drops to eighth
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021