Charles Leclerc has revealed at the Dutch Grand Prix that he is “of course not angry” with title rival Max Verstappen, after the pair’s unbelievable Belgian Grand Prix incident.
Reigning World Champion Verstappen’s “worst nightmare” came true at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, after he dropped a tear-off on the opening lap of the Belgian GP which remarkably got caught in Leclerc’s front-right brake duct.
The duo started P14 and P15 at Spa, having both taken grid penalties for an engine change.
The pair made an excellent start and were already knocking on the door of the top 10 by the time they were three-quarters of the way round the first lap.
However, the race would quickly take an unexpected turn for Leclerc, who was unfortunate enough to be forced into an early pit-stop for his rival’s tear-off to be taken off the brake duct.
The Monegasque driver ended up finishing the race in sixth, whilst Verstappen won by an impressive margin.
It would’ve been fifth for Leclerc had it not been for a five-second time penalty, which he was awarded after the race for speeding in the pit-lane.
It was another Ferrari strategic error, after the team pitted Leclerc from fifth with the aim of going for the fastest lap.
Not only did Leclerc speed in the pit-lane by 1 kph, he also failed to claim the fastest lap of the race.
Before it had been declared that it was Verstappen’s tear-off which affected Leclerc, the Dutchman revealed that he is “always scared” of it happening.
“You’re always scared that it happens, especially when you’re in the pack because at a track like Spa, you are taking them off very quickly,” the Dutchman said.
“It is your worst nightmare that these things happen but yeah, unfortunately they do happen.”
Leclerc was asked at Zandvoort if he was angry with the championship leader.
The Ferrari driver said he doesn’t blame Verstappen, with the type of incident “not the fault of the drivers”.
Leclerc wants to see a better solution for tear-offs rather than just throwing them on the track, with the 24-year-old suggesting that there should be somewhere in the car to store them.
“Of course it is not the fault of the drivers,” he said.
“But we could come up with something to store the strips in the car. I think someone was losing oil so no one could see through their visors and I could see them flying everywhere, but as a driver you can’t do anything about it.”
Verstappen and Leclerc both finished on the podium at the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix, with the Red Bull driver winning the race, while the Ferrari racer finished in P3.