Charles Leclerc says his own mistake should be the main focus of his crash in the German Grand Prix, after he criticized the track run-off at Hockenheim.
The Ferrari driver was up to second place after an early change for slick tires when he ran wide at the penultimate corner and slid into the barrier. The incident was one of many on the outside of that turn, where a drag strip offered very little grip in the wet conditions and resulted in numerous drivers who slid off either retiring or losing significant time.
Immediately after the incident, Leclerc described the surface as “unacceptable” for a Formula 1 circuit.
“It has been crazy and it was a big mistake on my side, and I am very sorry to the team and to the fans,” Leclerc said. “I feel sorry for them, but overall I feel it was a great race until the mistake. One mistake is enough to be out of the race, and it was completely my fault.
“I need to understand what happened, but to be honest, looking at what happened with the mistake, it was tricky conditions and you very often lose the car in these conditions.
“I am not convinced about the tarmac in that area of the last two corners. This is in no way an excuse of my mistakes and I take the full responsibility, but we are in Formula 1 and this type of tarmac is just unacceptable.
“It was tricky, but again, it wasn’t like I was going stupidly quick out of the track. It was a small snap and I had to try to get it back, but I couldn’t when I arrived on the track surface.”
After seeing initial headlines, Leclerc says his comments were not intended to take any of the blame away from his initial error.
“I don’t think I will comment any more,” he said. “I said I didn’t want any headlines that I was blaming the track for mistake, but the first things I see on social media – ‘Leclerc is blaming off for slippery track’ – it’s not the message I wanted to give.
“It was very slippery off-track, but the mistake… I did it myself. I’m very sorry for the team and the people supporting us this weekend. It’s a shame as it was a great opportunity.
“I was aware, because obviously it was shown on TV, at one point I had a big drifting moment, and fortunately for me I could catch it back. I knew it was very poor grip, but I was surprised by how much water there was on entry. Obviously on inters I could not feel it so much; on the dry tires I felt it a lot more, but then I was even more surprised when I went on the off-track just by the lack of grip. I expected poor grip, but not as poor as this.”