Leclerc vows to be ‘more careful’ during Mexico start after Japan collision
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will take even more care at the start of the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix following his collision with Max Verstappen into Turn 1 at Suzuka, last time out.
Red Bull’s Verstappen had to retire from the Japanese Grand Prix after being hit by Leclerc at Suzuka, the Monegasque picking up 15 seconds of post-race penalties that dropped him to P7. Verstappen called it an “irresponsible” manoeuvre, but Leclerc has admitted blame for the crash – as he revealed ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.
He has now vowed to learn from the accident in Japan as he aims to make it a third win of the season in Mexico.
“I think in the first corner it was probably useless to take so much risk, I lost quite a bit of points and it was just a shame, it was probably unnecessary,” said Leclerc.
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Afterwards, with Max, we had a discussion, he knew I made a mistake and these things happen – and it was definitely not a big deal
“Whether I would’ve done something different going back, it’s one of those situations that sometimes it happens – I just did a mistake – and that’s it. As I said I’ll learn from it by being a bit more careful for the next race start.
It was far from a surprise for Leclerc when he received the penalties.
“Well, actually, I was quite expecting it,” he said. “Once I arrived in the stewards’ room and I saw the images, it would have been wrong not to get a penalty for that. Afterwards, with Max [Verstappen] we had a discussion, he knew I made a mistake and these things happen – and it was definitely not a big deal.”
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As for Mexico, where potential calamity awaits at Turn 1, he said: “I don’t know if pole is the best place to start but we’ll definitely give it all for pole position – and then we’ll see. It’s a long way to Turn 1 – it was a very long way also in Sochi.”
Russia was, of course, where Leclerc missed out on victory from pole position having had a disagreement over the start strategy with team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Two races later in Mexico City, Mercedes’ Hamilton has the title in his sights and it’s his team mate Valtteri Bottas who can spoil his fiesta – while Ferrari haven’t won at this circuit since 1990 – but the Scuderia are branded favourites here, courtesy of their engine advantage.