Charles Leclerc will be hoping for a clean weekend at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, with the Ferrari driver battling Sergio Pérez for second in the Drivers’ Championship.
Going into the finale, Leclerc and Pérez are level on points; however, the Monegasque is technically ahead of the Mexican due to having won three races this season, compared to Pérez’s two.
It is essentially a case of winner-takes-all between the two, unless they fail to score points.
If both drivers fail to score points, then Leclerc will claim P2, something he will also do if he finishes ahead of Pérez in any position.
The same can’t be said for Checo if he finishes P9, as Leclerc would then still claim second if he finishes 10th and claims the fastest lap.
Leclerc is lucky to still be in contention for second in the standings, given that he was in the tyre barrier on the exit of Turn Six on the seventh lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend.
The Ferrari driver attempted to go around the outside of Lando Norris at the corner; however, the McLaren star hit the 24-year-old, who went into the barrier as a result.
Leclerc has revealed that he was surprised at how “aggressive” Norris was at the corner, after being certain that he “left space”.
“No of course,” he told Motorsport.com.
“Obviously I know Lando is not this type of guy, but for some reason today he was very aggressive, and also yesterday the same with Carlos.
“I don’t really understand, but it’s like this. At the end I don’t expect him to let me pass, he didn’t, but today was too much, and he paid the price with the penalty, I guess.
“I thought I had left space, well I’m pretty sure I left space, so I think he lost the rear and then touched me. So it’s a shame.”
Leclerc incredibly recovered from last to P4 following his collision with the barrier, after being “quite lucky” to have picked up minimal damage from the impact with the wall.
“I was very surprised, yes,” he said.
“I think we were quite lucky, I don’t know how much damage the car had. It didn’t feel too bad, maybe steering a little bit to the right, but apart from that it was okay.
“And after that the pace was really good all in all. Especially considering the first lap before, it was the best we could do today.”