The trend of first lap incidents is now becoming a regularity. More so at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia. And this time, Charles Leclerc was involved in a collision with Lance Stroll.
The Ferrari driver picked up some consistent pace to get behind the Racing Point cars. Starting from P11, Leclerc navigated the first couple of turns well.
But eventually, the fracas of cars in the midfield caught up to him. And the outcome was Stroll getting sent out of the race. The FIA took no action on either Charles Leclerc or Sergio Perez, for that incident.
Charles Leclerc offers an explanation in Stroll’s incident
Despite many watching the replays and asking why no investigation was necessary against Leclerc, the driver has pleaded innocence himself.
He stated, “I tried to go on the inside of Lance in Turn four. Then in the middle of the corner, Perez took the apex. When I was behind him, I under-steered quite a bit and then we made contact with Lance.”
It was certainly a moment of madness on the first lap, which also saw Bottas almost take the lead. At Turn 3, Carlos Sainz went off the track and crashed into the bollards. But undoubtedly, the Leclerc-Stroll clash was crucial from the perspective of table standings.
Leclerc believes that had he not been caught in Perez’s wake, there would have been no under-steer. But seemingly as the track was jam-packed, it was more of a genuine racing accident than malicious intent. The downforce does generally play a great part in the car’s performance on the first lap, and it did yesterday as well.
Stroll unimpressed with Leclerc’s driving
It is no secret that Lance Stroll was hard done by the incident. Having made up positions to get into P7, the points finish was right there for the taking.
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer also bemoaned the events stating, “It’s a massive shame because he had made a superb start and was already up in seventh. Given the pace of the car, it’s frustrating that Lance couldn’t score the points he deserved today.”
But when such accidents happen, drivers are almost always forced to retire their cars. And Stroll definitely believed that it was ‘sloppy’ from Leclerc’s end and that the incident was completely ‘avoidable’.