Lando Norris swears at Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc was handed a three-place grid penalty drop for impeding Lando Norris during qualifying in Monaco.

Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc were spotted having a potentially testy exchange in the paddock after qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix following an incident that potentially cost the McLaren driver a better starting position.

As Norris sped into the tunnel during a flying lap, he was forced to rapidly hit the break and back out after he spotted a slowing Leclerc blocking his path.

The incident meant that Norris had to settle for a P10 start, while Leclerc was dropped from P3 to P6 following a grid drop penalty, continuing the Monaco curse for the Ferrari driver.

“The stewards heard from the driver of Car ​16 (Charles Leclerc), the driver of Car ​4 (Lando Norris), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, timing data, team radio and in-car video evidence,” the FIA said after an investigation.

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“Leclerc had finished his final lap of Q3 and was in the Turn 4 through Turn 10 complex. Norris was on a fast lap and caught Leclerc in the middle of the tunnel and was clearly impeded.

“Both drivers agreed that there was little that Leclerc could have safely done in the tunnel to avoid impeding Norris, given the difficulty in vision due to the light entering and in the tunnel and the change of lines from one side of the tunnel to the other.

“In fact, the stewards observed that Leclerc reacted in a sensible way to a blue flag displayed by the marshals, but at this point it was too late.

“However, the stewards reviewed team radio, and Leclerc’s team failed to give him any warning about Norris’ approach until Norris was already directly behind him.

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“Further, the discussion during the preceding portion of the track was entirely about competing drivers, not the traffic behind, which is a critical task at this track.

“The stewards believe that there is much that Leclerc could have done prior to the tunnel to avoid the impeding had he received warning from the team at an appropriate time, especially considering that Norris’ approach was clear on the marshalling system.

“Thus, the stewards consider that the impeding was unnecessary.”

Spotting Leclerc in the paddock post-qualifying, Norris was seen flipping the middle finger at the Monegasque, potentially jokingly but also with a hint of frustration at what could have been for the McLaren driver.

Norris would later call for Leclerc to be disqualified from qualifying over the incident during an interview with Sky Sports.

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With a smirk on his face when asked by presenter Natalie Pinkman what should happen to Leclerc, Norris’ response was “maybe disqualified or something.”

“There’s one rule which is don’t slow down in the middle of the tunnel, and he did. But it’s not up to me,” Norris continued.

McLaren would go on to secure a double points finish despite the qualifying incident, with Norris in P9 and Piastri in P10 after the pair pushed AlphaTauri into P11.