Charles Leclerc says that the penalties to Sergio Perez during the Austrian Grand Prix were fairly applied, as he believes the Red Bull driver “overstepped” the mark in the course of their battle for position.
Perez had already been involved in an incident at Turn 4 where Lando Norris was deemed to have forced him off track on the exit, with Norris receiving a five-second time penalty. In an almost carbon copy of the incident later on, Leclerc tried the same move around the outside of Perez at the same corner and there was light contact as the Ferrari ended up dipping two wheels in the gravel, and Leclerc believes it was a situation where he had the high ground, compared to when Max Verstappen pushed him off at Turn 3 in 2019.
“Let’s say this one is a little bit different, because you can argue two years ago I was not in front at the apex, or we were very close at least,” Leclerc said. “But this year I was definitely in front at the apex. He had to leave a space on the exit.
“I think he knows he overstepped it a little bit. We spoke with Checo… he apologized straight away after the race. It’s fine, I’m not the type of guy who is staying on it for so long. So the air is cleared and I’ll go forward.
Two didn't go into one – twice!
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“I feel like this one this one was obviously a little bit different, the consequences were different for me — there were gravels, not tarmac, and I was also in front at the apex round the outside. So normally you need to leave the space.”
Perez had a similar take of his incident with Norris, but confirmed he had apologized to Leclerc because he felt the way the Ferrari driver races deserves respect.
“Well, the first incident with Lando, he got away with it, because he didn’t get any damage but, obviously next time it can be very different,” Perez said. “It was only Lap 1, I felt that I was a little bit ahead, and he just ran me off the circuit, which wasn’t fair enough in racing.
“And then, with Charles, I’m very sorry, because that’s not the way I like to race — I’m not the kind of driver that races that way, but I was in very dirty air, very hot tires, very hot brakes. We were just trying to brake as late as possible … I’m very sorry if I affected his race, because Charles is a driver that fights hard, but always on the limit. I am the same and I’m not happy with myself for that. I just move on.”