Charles Leclerc says he will adapt his driving in response to the stewards’ decisions if Max Verstappen’s move on Lewis Hamilton in Brazil goes unpunished.
Mercedes has asked for a right to review the move on lap 48 that saw Hamilton attempt to pass around the outside into Turn 4, but forced to take evasive action as Verstappen braked too late on the inside and both drivers went off track. While Leclerc insists he doesn’t mind whether there is a retrospective penalty or not, he says he’ll adjust to the decision if the stewards deem it a legal defense.
“In Austria (in 2019) it was a bit of a different situation again and after that we could race a bit harder — which I think was good for F1, for the show,” Leclerc said. “This situation was another one. I’ll leave it to the stewards to just see what they think.
“You always need to adapt to every decision the stewards are doing. As soon as I knew it wasn’t a penalty for Max in Austria I came to Silverstone and I changed my driving, so I think that’s a bit the same for every driver. We always try to race at the limit of what we’re allowed to do, and that is what I will do in case these things are allowed.”
While Leclerc says he doesn’t want to get involved in whether a penalty would be right or wrong, he acknowledges overtaking around the outside could become even more rare if such a move is allowed.
“Honestly, I really don’t mind. And this time I’m not saying it to not get involved! Whatever is allowed, I just want it to be clear as a driver — that’s the only thing that matters to me. You’re right that if this is allowed then overtaking around the outside is going to be very difficult, but whatever the decision is then I’ll just adapt my driving to it. I’m fine with both.”
Leclerc believes there is a simple solution at many corners, as he says gravel would act as a deterrent for the defending driver trying to brake as late as possible.
“On the incident itself, I just think that with gravel everything would be a lot clearer and it would probably be nicer for those type of situations. Then on the appeal, the only thing I can say is that I understand it a little bit in a way because they are fighting for absolutely every point and for a championship at the end. So both parts are trying to do the best possible to try and gain points in every possible way; but if there was gravel there wouldn’t be any of these problems and it would actually be better.”