Charles Leclerc said he was to blame for a first-lap collision with Sergio Perez which put the Ferrari driver out of the race and caused Max Verstappen’s retirement.Sergio Perez at turn four, knocking the Racing Point driver into a spin.
The collision forced Verstappen to run wide. The Red Bull driver ran out of room at the exit of the corner and hit the barrier, retiring along with Leclerc, while Perez continued.
Leclerc told Sky he misjudged what Perez was going to do at turn four, assuming he was going to try to pass Valtteri Bottas on the outside of the corner.
“Basically I was in fifth and I was side-by-side a bit behind Max and tried to overtake him into turn four.
“I had seen Checo [Perez] but I expected him to go around the outside of Valtteri and stay there. But there but I think he decided after to come back in the inside and I was there and then it was too late for me too slow down.
“So I don’t think it’s a mistake from Checo, I’m not putting the blame on Checo, if there’s anybody to blame today it’s me. But I would say it’s more unfortunate than blame.”
Verstappen said the start of the race was “all about just surviving in between the cars”, and criticised his rivals’ driving.
“I don’t know why they were being so aggressive and so reckless,” he said. “We are all up in the front and at the end of the day three cars were basically a victim of that, two cars of course heavily.
“So I don’t really know why, especially Charles in turn four, why he dives up the inside like that. Especially braking that late as well. What do you expect?
“Checo cannot see what is happening on the inside and he basically just locked his wheel and understeered into him. And because of that Checo was spinning backwards, I tried to go around the inside, tried not to damage my car but there’s nothing you can do there.”
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