Leclerc says he wants to move on after clearing air with Perez over two on-track clashes in Austria
Two wheel-to-wheel battles with Sergio Perez left Charles Leclerc fuming under his helmet (and over team radio) during the Austrian Grand Prix, but the Ferrari driver says there’ll be no lingering ill feeling between the pair after they cleared the air following the race.
Perez was handed two five-second time penalties for two separate incidents in which he was adjudged to have forced Leclerc off the track – the first at Turn 4 and the second at Turn 7.
Perez eventually finished sixth to Leclerc’s P8, with the duo having discussed what happened before facing the media. For his part, Perez said he was “extremely sorry” for the incidents, with Leclerc saying he considered the matter closed.
“I wouldn’t call it a good afternoon, but an exciting afternoon probably is the word,” said Leclerc when describing his race. “Obviously there was quite a bit of tension under the helmet. Now helmet off, we’ve spoken.
“I think he [Perez] knows he exaggerated; that’s it. I’ll move on. I’m not the kind of guy that’s just staying on the same thing for a long time.
“It’s been very frustrating in the car because I felt like I had a lot more pace, but I couldn’t use it. Every time I saw an opportunity - there were very few opportunities because we were in a DRS train - but every time I saw an opportunity I tried to go for it and twice I didn’t have enough space on the exit of the corner, but it’s life. It’s like this.”
Leclerc said he could at least take some encouragement from the race, with team mate Carlos Sainz claiming fifth on an alternate strategy.
“We were a little bit less strong compared to last week, but we were still very strong, and I think it was positive; we didn’t look much in the mirrors and I think the only shame was that we were on the same strategies as the one in front, so no tyre advantage by doing a reverse strategy - but it paid off for Carlos, so I think we did a good thing to do the split of cars at the beginning of this race.”
Four points for P8 keeps Leclerc sixth in the drivers’ standings – the highest placed driver yet to score a podium finish this year.