Why Wasn’t Charles Leclerc Penalized for His Clash With Stroll During the Russian GP?

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The race at the Russian Grand Prix raised a few questions on how the stewards make their decision regarding penalties. While the fans were expecting a penalty for Charles Leclerc after taking Lance Stroll out in the very first lap, the stewards decided otherwise.

They chose not to take further action and declared it as a racing incident. The incident was like a déjà vu as it took everyone down memory lane to the Lewis Hamilton-Alex Albon incident in Austria.

Comparing both the incidents, it almost felt like the stewards were a bit too lenient on Leclerc. Stroll was way ahead of Leclerc, and it was almost impossible for Leclerc to make a move on the Canadian.

While exiting Turn 5, Leclerc looked a bit too opportunistic and ended up clipping Stroll’s rear, effectively sending him spinning into the wall. Stroll eventually retired from the race.

Leclerc no penalty VS Hamilton’s penalty from formula1

Earlier this season, in Austria, the stewards handed Hamilton a 5-second time penalty for a similar incident with Alex Albon. Lewis got the penalty because the incident did not compromise his race as he crossed home in P2. However, he fell down the ladder to P4 in the aftermath of the penalty.

Similarly, in the Leclerc incident, it would have been reasonable to not give Leclerc a penalty had he compromised his own race. But he managed to gain Stroll’s position after the incident and ultimately finished the race in P6.

One might consider the fact that the stewards have been lenient during first-lap incidents over the last couple of seasons.

But this is not the first instance where Leclerc escaped from a penalty. Earlier this season in Spain, rather than pitting his car after the spin in the race, he chose to drive around the circuit without a seatbelt.

Lance Stroll “Surprised” Charles Leclerc was not penalized

Lance Stroll sounded disappointed with the stewards’ decision to let the Monegasque off the hook, and rightly so. The incident hampered his race as he has suffered his second consecutive DNF.

I made a great start to the race, and I was up to P7 by the time of the collision. Having had the free choice of tires, by starting outside of the top 10, we were in a really good place to execute a strong race and score plenty of points,” said the Canadian after the race.

The Racing Point of Lance Stroll being towed away after his crash in Sochi
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – The car of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll is removed from the track after he crashed out of the race. Pool via REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Sadly, it wasn’t to be because my right-rear tire got hit by Leclerc on the opening lap. I’m very surprised that he didn’t get the penalty. Because I left him plenty of room and he could have avoided making contact by not going so wide on the exit,” Stroll said.

But he stressed the point that he will come back stronger for the next race in Germany.

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