Charles Leclerc says he will try to channel his aggression more effectively after receiving a three-place grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for causing a collision at the start of the last race.
The stewards in the Sakhir Grand Prix gave Leclerc the penalty after he hit Sergio Perez on the opening lap, with the Ferrari driver outbraving himself into Turn 4 when overtaking Max Verstappen. Leclerc retired on the spot — as did Verstappen who took avoiding action — and although Perez went on to win it mean the penalty handed out applies to this weekend’s race.
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“Well, I think I didn’t give much choice to the stewards, basically!” Leclerc said. “Because by not finishing the race I think I had to get a penalty somehow and the only thing that was possible for them is to penalize me for the next race. It’s the way it is.
“I think I’ve gained a lot in some of the races on the first lap which helped me to gain a lot of points this year, and it happens that sometimes it just doesn’t go my way; it didn’t last weekend and it didn’t in Austria at the beginning of the year.
“But in the end I’ve also gained a lot of points with that and I’ll try to choose the fights better because obviously gaining a position against Max was not going to bring us anywhere in a better position, because Max was quicker than us anyway. But anyway, it’s like this and I will learn from it.”
Verstappen was critical of Leclerc’s driving immediately after the incident after he was forced wide into the barrier by the collision, but would not be drawn on it again ahead of the final race of the season.
“I am not interested at all,” Verstappen said. “I just want to do the race here and go home. It’s what it is. There’s no point trying to have a bitch fight — keep going on, poking each other, it doesn’t matter. We both retired and that’s what it is.”