Charles Leclerc left the Brazilian Grand Prix having moved to being level on points with Sergio Pérez in the fight for second in the Drivers’ Championship, after finishing fourth at Interlagos.
To say that Leclerc finished fourth does seem absolutely ridiculous, given that he was in the wall on the exit of Turn Six on Lap 7/71.
Leclerc found himself in the wall after being hit by Lando Norris following a Safety Car restart, which bunched the entire field up.
The Monegasque driver exited Turn Four brilliantly and switched to the inside of Norris, meaning the pair went side-by-side all the way up to the corner where the collision happened.
Leclerc was on the outside of the McLaren driver as they entered the corner; however, Norris appeared to have a moment on the inside which sent his car wider than expected, resulting in a collision with the right-rear of Leclerc.
The Ferrari driver had a few words to say after hitting the wall, where he remarkably managed to re-join the circuit with only front-wing damage.
“He is a d**k,” Leclerc said about Norris on the team’s radio.
Norris was awarded with a five-second time penalty for the collision, although, the 23-year-old retired from the race late on following a suspected hydraulic issue.
Somehow, Leclerc managed to fight his way through the field to claim an impressive fourth place, which meant he still finished above Pérez despite having been in the wall early on.
Had Leclerc not been hit by Norris then second or third would’ve definitely been on the cards for the Monegasque driver, meaning he should really be entering the season finale in Abu Dhabi ahead of Pérez.
With the duo being level on points, it does make for a winner-takes-all scenario, where whoever finishes higher will claim second.
If both drivers fail to score points, though, then Leclerc will claim second due to having claimed three victories in 2022, compared to Pérez’s two.
Despite the unfortunate incident, Leclerc was “happy” with his performance but does believe he “left enough space” for Norris, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday.
“All in all, with my performance, I’m happy,” said Leclerc to F1.com.
“Obviously the first lap [after the restart] I need to rewatch the images,” he said. “I felt like I left enough space for Lando, but I think he had a moment and touched me, and then I went into the wall.
“Towards the end, we had good pace and we finished P4, which is a great result overall.”