Leclerc handed three-place grid drop for Abu Dhabi for causing opening lap crash
Charles Leclerc has been handed a three-place grid drop for the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi for causing the first-lap crash that put him and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen out of Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix on the spot.
Leclerc qualified a brilliant fourth for the race in Bahrain, but collided with Sergio Perez at Turn 4 on the opening lap while trying to pass Verstappen, which led to the Dutchman being taken out as he avoided the impact.
Verstappen said afterwards that Leclerc had been reckless and should take the blame for the incident, with the stewards apparently concurring, handing the Ferrari driver a three-place grid drop and two penalty points for causing a collision.
“Car 16 [Leclerc] braked too late into Turn 4, locking the front right wheel and colliding with Car 11 [Perez] which was taking the normal racing line into the corner,” read the stewards' statement.
It’s the second time this year Leclerc has been involved in a high-profile first-lap crash, with the Monegasque taking responsibility for taking out team mate Sebastian Vettel in Styria.
He now has 3 points on his licence for the 12-month period, still some way short of an automatic one-race ban.