Leclerc: Suzuka F1 penalty was "right" after last-lap Perez fight

Charles Leclerc believes the five-second time penalty that dropped him to third at Suzuka was “the right thing to do” by the Formula 1 race stewards.

Leclerc: Suzuka F1 penalty was "right" after last-lap Perez fight

Ferrari driver Leclerc found himself coming under increasing pressure from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in the battle for second through the closing stages of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Under braking into the Casio Triangle on the final lap, Leclerc ran deep and cut over the kerbs when rejoining the track ahead of Perez. He crossed the line three-tenths of a second ahead, but the stewards swiftly ruled that Leclerc had gone off-track and gained an advantage, resulting in a five-second penalty that dropped him behind Perez to third.

It also meant race winner Max Verstappen gained enough points to clinch his second F1 world title.

PLUS: 10 moments that won Verstappen the 2022 Formula 1 title

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said he was “very surprised” and “very disappointed” by the decision, particularly as Leclerc did not have the opportunity to argue his case with the stewards. But Leclerc himself felt the penalty was fair.

“I did a mistake, tried to minimise it obviously by trying to go straight,” Leclerc said.

“I was not aware this was the last lap. But five seconds penalty was the right thing to do, to be honest.”

Leclerc momentarily took the lead off the line at the start of the race, making a better getaway than Verstappen, only for the Red Bull to swing around the outside of Turn 1 in the damp and regain P1.

Following the rain delay, Leclerc struggled to keep up with Verstappen on the restart, eventually crossing the line over 26 seconds behind after 28 laps.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 3rd position, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, in Parc Ferme

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 3rd position, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Leclerc said he was “very fast for four or five laps” before his front tyres struggled with degradation, causing him to slip back into Perez’s clutches.

“It was all about trying to survive until the end of the race,” said Leclerc.

“The end of the race was extremely difficult. Obviously Checo was putting quite a bit of pressure behind and I was really, really struggling with both of my front tyres.

“I ended up making a mistake, but we were really, struggling today.”

Read Also:

Binotto explained that it was “not possible” for Leclerc to recover his tyres after pushing early on, saying the team would go through what happened to understand the high levels of degradation.

“Maybe he was attacking a bit too much to try and close the gap, maybe destroyed [the tyres] and as a consequence, he had not any more the right pace for the following laps,” said Binotto.

“On the single lap, I think the pace and the speed was there. But in terms of tyre management, certainly we could have done something different.”

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen makes wet F1 tyre test offer to help Pirelli
Previous article

Verstappen makes wet F1 tyre test offer to help Pirelli

Next article

Why weather isn’t a true F1 leveller 

Why weather isn’t a true F1 leveller 
The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline Plus

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

In the hands of Ayrton Senna the actively suspended 99T would be the last F1 race-winning Lotus but, as STUART CODLING reveals, it was a complicated machine that caused more problems than it solved

Formula 1
Feb 5, 2023
How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 Plus

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Formula 1’s transformation into a global sport meant the gradual extinction for a small team determined to stay true to its low-budget roots. But Tyrrell would eventually be reborn as a world-beating outfit again, explains MAURICE HAMILTON, albeit in different colours…

Formula 1
Feb 4, 2023
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023