Leclerc shares Verstappen chat after furious reaction to Las Vegas GP drama
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Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc revealed that Max Verstappen apologised to him after their incident on the opening corner of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Leclerc started in pole position but was quickly forced off the track as his Red Bull rival overtook him, with Verstappen receiving a five-second penalty in the process.
Verstappen attempted to overtake Leclerc on the opening narrow corner and ended up running wide, forcing Leclerc off the track as he fumed that the starting position should have been immediately given back to him.
“This needs to be addressed now, it’s a joke if he keeps the position,” yelled the Monegasque driver. But Red Bull decided against immediately handing it back to Leclerc and awaited the stewards’ decision.
Having kept position, Verstappen was instead handed a time penalty rather than being forced to give the position back to Leclerc. Despite some jostling, the Dutchman ended up on the top spot with Leclerc finishing as runner-up in Nevada, but he did receive an apology from the race winner.
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“Yeah I already spoke with Max,” Leclerc told Viaplay. “He already told me sorry for the start. He was at the really inside because I squeezed him and I knew that there was no grip there.
“But he still decided to remain there and I expected him to go wide, which he did. I tried to resist on the outside but then he overtook me.”
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However, Verstappen was not as apologetic at the time of the incident. After race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase informed the driver of his punishment on the Red Bull team radio, Verstappen replied: “Yeah that’s fine, send them my regards.”
After claiming his 19th race win of the season, Verstappen further explained his view on the drama. “It was a tough one,” he said. “I tried to go for it at the start. We (himself and Leclerc) both braked quite late and I just ran out of grip, so we ended up a bit wide.
“The stewards gave me a penalty for that and it put us on the backfoot. I had to pass quite a few cars and there was the Safety Car, so at that point there was a lot going on.”
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