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Formula 1 Mexico City GP

Leclerc had "nowhere to go" in Perez F1 Mexico GP clash

Charles Leclerc told booing Mexican fans that he had "nowhere to go" in his opening corner crash with local hero Sergio Perez in Formula 1's Mexico Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, collide at the start causing retirement for the Mexican

The Ferrari driver had started from pole but did not make a brilliant getaway, as he found himself under attack from Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Perez.

Verstappen was charging to his right down the inside, while Perez had more momentum as he slipstreamed past on the left and attempted to swoop into the lead as the cars ran three abreast into the first corner.

But there was not enough room for all of them and Perez came off worst as his left rear tangled with Leclerc's front left, pitching the Red Bull up in the air before he spun down the escape road.

While Perez was able to continue and dive into the pits, the team discovered too much damage to the car and had to retire him.

Eventual third-place finisher Leclerc was clearly not too popular after the race when, during the post-race interviews, he was heavily jeered by the local fans.

But he defended himself by making it clear that, being sandwiched between the two Red Bulls, he has no room for manoeuvre to avoid a collision.

"A lot of booing...guys," he said in response to the crowd. "I mean, honestly, I had nowhere to go.

"I was a bit in between the two Red Bulls and unfortunately I touched Checo, but I had nowhere to go. So, it's life.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, the rest of the field at the start

"It damaged my car. And unfortunately, it ended the race of Checo. But yeah, on our end we maximised our race, so it's life.

"Of course, I'm disappointed to end the race of Checo like that, but I really didn't do it on purpose. I had nowhere to go."

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Leclerc admitted that the final stint on the hard tyres after the red flag restart had not been ideal, as it was clear closest rival Mercedes was quicker.

"We struggled a little bit with the hard after the restart," he said.

"Lewis was really quick on the medium and then they managed to have a really good degradation. So yeah, they were just better today and it's life."

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