Leclerc will adjust F1 travel if the Verstappen move remains unpunished

After Verstappen kept Lewis Hamilton behind by removing him from the road at turn 4 in last week’s race at Interlagos, the stewards chose not to open a formal investigation into the incident during the race, with Verstappen eventually finishing in second place.

But Mercedes subsequently filed a request for a right of appeal triggered by video evidence from Verstappen’s forward-facing camera, which was not available to the stewards at the time.

Leclerc says that if the stewards do not now sanction Verstappen, he will adjust his driving, just as he did after his own incident with the Dutchman at the Austrian GP in 2019.

On that occasion, Verstappen remained unpunished after forcing himself past and pushing Leclerc off the road in the final laps of the race before continuing with the victory.

“You always have to adapt to every situation, every decision the stewards make,” Leclerc said. “As soon as I knew it was not a penalty for Max in Austria, I came to Silverstone and I changed my driving. So I think it’s a bit the same for all drivers, we will always try to drive on the limits of what we are allowed to do.

“And that’s what I’ll do if these things are allowed.

“Austria it was a little different situation again, and after that we could drive a little harder, which I think was good for F1, for the show. This situation was different. I leave it to the stewards to just see what they think. “

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, collides with Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, collides with Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90

Photo by: Lorenzo Bellanca / Motorsport Images

Leclerc insisted that he had no preference as to the outcome.

“Honestly, I really do not mind,” he said. “But no matter what’s allowed, I just want it to be clear as a driver. That’s the only thing that matters to me.

“If this is allowed, it will be very difficult to overtake.

“But yeah, no matter what the situation is, then the decision is, so I just adapt my driving to it, so I’m fine with both.”

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz agreed that drivers will see the Verstappen case, but was not surprised that the Red Bull driver remained unpunished in Brazil.

“A driver uses every opportunity to his advantage,” he said. “Knowing well if this has not been punished at the last race, if I’m in a similar position, I know I can do something similar.

“I think the car on the inside always has the preference and the ability to drive the other car wide, but if the car inside also goes wide, that’s what we need to have clarified.

“I mean, lately it’s been a bit more like that. But if you really put your view back on, say, Austria [this year], then there are a few things to review.

“What happened in Austria, in fact, with some cases, is very similar. So yes, I’m sure there will be some conversations at the driver meetings just to clarify a little bit.”

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