Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2019

Leclerc: “Nothing personal” about fight with Verstappen

2019 British Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc says he fought harder than usual in his battle with Max Verstappen at Silverstone but there was “nothing personal” about it following their run-in at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver lost a potential victory at the Red Bull Ring after Verstappen muscled him aside at the end of the race.

Verstappen said he suspected Leclerc was “still sore from Austria” after their spirited battle at Silverstone during which he told his team Leclerc was making late defensive moves.

However Leclerc insisted there was “nothing personal” about his treatment of Verstappen during the race.

“After Austria I think if the stewards accept us to race that way then I’m more than happy to race like this, and that’s what I did this weekend,” he explained.

“So nothing special, I just raced harder than normal because I feel like in the last two races or maybe a bit before Formula 1 wants hard racing. I think we are pushing as drivers to have hard racing, that’s where we enjoy the most to be racing like that and that’s what I did today.”

Leclerc, who went on to finish the race in third place, described the grand prix as “probably the most fun race I’ve had since I started in Formula 1.”

“It was very enjoyable, very hard racing, always borderline but always stayed within the rules. I really enjoyed that fight.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Leclerc: “Nothing personal” about fight with Verstappen”

  1. Exactly.

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th July 2019, 19:29

    Well, hopefully he doesn’t feel the same about the Scuderia who somehow manage to screw his races up almost as frequently as Vettel screws his own races… Sorry, I just had to say it

  3. Great stuff CL.

    1. Yes. I think this bloke is the real deal who will lead Ferrari back to greatness – management permitting.
      As the British Grand Prix unfolded, I thought that we witnessed the next generation of F1 stars: Leclerc, Verstappen and Norris.

      1. I thought that we witnessed the next generation of F1 stars: Leclerc, Verstappen and Norris.

        Indeed, these 3 (and maybe Russell) will be a sight to see if they all get championship-contending cars to drive.

        Also, I’m gutted for Norris, who did nothing wrong but was screwed big time by the strategy and SC. Also, reaching Q3 seems to provide him with worse chances of finishing ahead of his team-mate, who is rarely starting within the top 10.

  4. It’s good isn’t it.
    The last few seasons it has been Max saying “What? – I was just racing!”
    Now LeClerc is playing the same game and Max is like “He hates me – it is personal!”

    1. Aw you had to ruin that comment with ‘he hates me’…

      Of course Max doesn’t think that. Max is a hard racer and has been and always will. And he’s learned to keep it more controlled. Now CL is playing along feeling like the stewards are allowing some edginess. I just think it can be personal, or it can be that CL was still ‘sore’ but until the gloves really come off, like two blokes in a see-saw battle for the Championship, ‘hate’ doesn’t have to come into it. Max wouldn’t waste the mental energy and would just exact his answer on the track, as I’m sure CL will, and has. So far Max has prevailed both times but it’s great to have CL in this fight and trying Max on. It’s a tall order.

  5. GtisBetter (@)
    15th July 2019, 22:43

    What a liar, of course this was personal, but not in a negative way, revenge way. You can’t convince me that these super competitive drivers don’t just nudge a bit extra when they see a rival or a team mate or the guy who is behind them in the championship. It’s in their blood. Also stop with the ”we are allowed more now” while you do things that were always allowed.

  6. Verstappen has been allowed to get away with quite a bit because he puts on a show. He drives with a style that would never have been tolerated in the past because it would have been far to damaging to the cars and plain dangerous to other drivers.
    Now the tracks are infinitely safer, the marshals are much better trained and safety personal are better equipped than ever before. So a little more aggression is OK but they and some of the fans need to remember these are still open wheelers and the consequences of a coming together and wheels getting tangled at 250 KPH would be much greater than in a sports or touring car.
    I expect things to heat up a bit next yr with the return of Ocon and other teams catching RB.

    1. @johnrkh Not sure how far in the past you are thinking, but MS was brutally unethical on the track, and some revere him as the greatest.

      No, Max has not been allowed to get away with quite a bit, for if he didn’t penalize himself, he was penalized by F1 for the bulk of his transgressions. But otherwise, yeah he is darn exciting to watch, and no doubt F1 is stoked to have the likes of him and Leclerc for the future.

      What is really going to be fascinating is to see how all the drivers do come 2021 when F1 should be much more about close combat. And speaking of which, Max not only showed that he can beat the Ferraris, he also did some incredible driving while challenging Leclerc, backing out of situations like CL should have in Austria, then going for it and getting by CL like CL couldn’t get by Max, again, in Austria. CL showed some great race craft at Silverstone, but for me Max still showed why he is a cut above.

      Not sure where Ocon fits in, but I don’t see him at Max’s level, and as to other teams catching RB…they won’t be sitting still themselves, and are already challenging Ferrari (Max would have finished ahead of both of them in Silverstone just as in Austria) after just half a season with Honda and last season with STR/Honda of course.

      1. @robbie I wouldn’t go as far as to say that his Silverstone performance shows he is a cut above Leclerc, given he got tricked into braking late on cold tyres and running wide, losing his position. The only backing out he really did was the one incident on the Hangar straight, which granted, was good, because if he had braked later with that acuta angle approach into Stowe he would have run wide and run into Leclerc. Verstappen is good, but he isn’t infallible.

        1. @wsrgo No of course Max is not infallible. Nor would I say Max ‘got tricked’ but was merely on cold hards coming out of the pits. He had ‘no grip’ as he said over the radio, sounding to me a little contrite knowing his crew had gotten him out ahead of CL.

          But no I would say there was plenty more than the one time you cite when Max showed himself in Leclerc’s mirrors and thought the better of passing attempts that perhaps he would have attempted more aggressively pre-Monaco 2018. I also think Max is a cut above CL as evidenced by his performance that saw him get ahead of him again, ala Austria, only to be thwarted by SV. Whereas CL has decided now to race hard, Max already had that in him, and has prevailed over CL two races in a row, whack from SV aside.

          1. @robbie Keith’s review seemed to suggest that Max’s mistake was engineered by Leclerc’s dart to the inside, if you want a more unbiased opinion than mine. Everyone is on cold tyres on their out lap so I don’t think it’s an excuse anyone can or should hide behind. Also, the Leclerc-Verstappen was unresolved because of the Safety Car which allowed Max to jump Charles. Max didn’t win the duel, really. The incident after the SC was 50/50, Leclerc was probably a little too optimistic attempting a move at the final chicane, but the core contact was caused by Max, and then he did retain the position by going off. Not anyone’s fault, but not really indicative of Max winning the battle overall. So he hasn’t ‘prevailed 2 races in a row’ as you claim.

          2. @wsrgo Seb collision aside, Max was due to finish ahead of CL for the second race in a row (without considering the races pre-Austria). I call that prevailing twice in a row after close combat in both races.

          3. @robbie Apologies for dragging this on but you can’t cherry pick your misfortunes. Max was as much at fault for the Seb collision as Charles was for dropping behind Max in the SC pitstop melee. These misfortunes cancel each other out. So the way I see it, sans both occurrences, Charles beat Max (he wasn’t passed or jumped on driver merit). And considering both occurrences, Charles beat Max (cold fact as stated on the results sheet).

          4. @wsrgo No need to apologize that’s for sure. Aren’t you cherry picking misfortunes in order to do your cancellation math, while ignoring Max’s pass on the outside of CL? I would suggest you wouldn’t advise CL that the way to wins and Championships is to be passed by Max who was looking to podium with either a second or a third place, with two Merc drivers beside him either way, and hope that his teammate Vettel takes Max out so he can get to the podium instead. Sure he factually ‘beat’ Max, however, at no point during the race did I ever think CL had Max covered and was destined to finish ahead of him.

          5. @robbie Max’s ‘outside’ pass, right, the one where he hit Leclerc by turning into the apex after CL was fully alongside him. And then completed the ‘outside’ pass putting four wheels wayyyy off track.
            Also I don’t know what you mean by ‘destined’. This is sport, not palmistry or astrology. There are many complex variables at work, alone and operating as additive and interactive elements, with probabilities and odds changing over time, with any projections subject to large standard errors.

          6. @wsrgo Yeah that pass similar to the one in Austria that saw Leclerc on the outside and turning into and hitting Max, except Max passed Leclerc each time, once on the inside and then on the outside at Silverstone. By destined I meant that Max was looking to podium and it is just a question of whether or not he would have caught Bottas and passed him for second or not. Oh of course we don’t have a crystal ball but obviously the way Max was running a podium was in the offing until SV hit him.

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