Mercedes drivers Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell spoke about Charles Leclerc’s accident at the French Grand Prix on Sunday after the Monegasque crashed while leading.
Leclerc started the race on pole position after a scintillating performance on Saturday, and he held off Max Verstappen in the opening stages of the race before the Dutchman pitted.
The Scuderia sent the 24-year-old longer into his stint, but he lost the rear of his car going into Turn 11, spinning and slamming into the wall, leaving the reigning champion to take the win.
He said on the radio that there was an issue with his throttle as he attempted to reverse out of the barrier, but many took that to mean that the throttle – which had caused problems towards the end of his win in Austria – had caused the crash.
One of those was Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache, who told Hamilton in the cool-down room that there was a “throttle blockage” after the seven-time champion described the crash as “just a mistake.”
Russell asked for clarification, so Wache explained that the throttle issue was “what he [Leclerc] said on the radio.”
After the race, Leclerc confirmed that there were no issues with his F1-75, and that the race ending crash was his mistake.
“As I’ve been saying, I think I’m performing at the highest level of my career but if I keep doing these mistakes then it’s pointless to perform at a very high level,” he explained when speaking to Sky Sports.
“I’m losing too many points, seven I think was in Imola, 25 here because honestly we probably were the strongest car on track today.
“So yeah, if we lose the championship by 32 points at the end of the season, I will know where they are coming from and it’s unacceptable.
“I just need to get on top of those things.”
Hamilton finished second after he passed Sergio Perez at the start, while Russell took P3 from the Mexican late on in the race as the Silver Arrows got their best result of the season.
Verstappen’s seventh win of the season puts him 63 points clear of Leclerc in the Drivers’ Standings.