Charles Leclerc explains why Lance Stroll didn’t deserve a penalty

Charles Leclerc crashed out on lap one, while Carlos Sainz was stripped of his points finish with a last lap penalty.

Ferrari suffered their worst weekend of the 2023 season after a first lap incident between Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll saw the Monegasque driver retire from the race.

“‘If I was frustrated with how qualifying went? I see it in a different way. I had put aside yesterday’s frustration, I knew the race was long‘If I was frustrated with how qualifying went? I see it in a different way. I had put aside yesterday’s frustration, I knew the race was long,” Leclerc said.

“I looked at the on boards, in Turn 1 I was very careful, and in Turn 3 there was space on the outside during braking. 

“But Fernando had to brake even more because he had cars in front, and this led Lance to put himself in a place between me and Fernando, it’s not Lance’s fault: I think it’s more of a race accident,” he explained. 

READ: ‘I’m not going to lie’: Carlos Sainz accuses Ferrari of getting carried away

Leclerc finds himself in 10th place in the Drivers’ Standings after a DNF in Bahrain, a seventh place finish in Saudi Arabia and, now, another DNF in Australia.

“The frustration is strong, because in the end it’s been three weekends that everything went wrong between the problems and the penalty, and now this incident. The season is long, but we have few points and we have to bounce back,” the Monegasque added.  

The team had remained optimistic that Carlos Sainz would bring a good haul of points back home, as he was in P4 with one lap remaining in the race.

However, due to an incident after the second red flag restart, Sainz was hit with a five second penalty by officials.

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Sainz had a strong launch off the grid following the restart but collided with the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso, inadvertently leading to a second crash between the Alpine’s of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

Being deemed to have caused a collision, Sainz was hit with the punishment by the stewards with no ability to fight back, as the race finished with the drivers being led to the chequered flag by the safety car.

As the entire field was bunched up, the Spaniard fell from P4 to P12, the last of the finishers. 

“No, it cannot be. Do I deserve to be out of the points? No,” Sainz said over the radio.

READ: Carlos Sainz copies Jose Mourinho as launches FIA tirade

“It’s unacceptable. Tell them, it’s unacceptable. They need to wait until the race is finished and discuss it with me.

“Please. Ask them please, please, please, please to wait and discuss it with me.

“Clearly, the penalty is too severe,” he added.