Scuderia Ferarri’s Charles Leclerc has admitted responsibility for the incident that brought his and team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s Styrian Grand Prix to an abrupt end.
The two drivers collided at turn three on the opening lap, Leclerc’s car running over the kerb and into the back of Vettel’s car, damaging his rear wing. The team considered the damage to be irreparable and the German was forced to retire from the race. While Leclerc was initially able to continue, having pitted for hard tyres during the resulting Safety Car period, it was decided that he too should retire as the damage sustained to the floor of his SF1000 was deemed to be unsafe.
“What happened today is clearly my fault, there’s nothing else to say. I take full responsibility. I made a mistake and apologising is not enough,” he said.
Leclerc said they need to take every chance possible to get points on the board if they are going to be able to challenge for the Championship this year.
“We need to take every opportunity and today we could have had one, because even though we might not have the performance to collect a lot of points at the moment, every single point is important and anything can happen in the race, as we saw last week.”
Leclerc said that although the move was a risk, he made it in the hope they would gain potentially three or four places and sone much needed points.
“But we didn’t bring home any points. I was so eager to do well for the team and I thought I might be able to gain three or four places and I went for it. But in fact the opportunity wasn’t there.
“It’s not easy for the whole team who worked hard to bring upgrades here. We are going through a difficult time and we don’t need this.
“I have apologised to the team and to Seb, who didn’t do anything wrong. I let everyone down today and I am very sorry. I will learn from this and come back stronger next time,” he concluded.
Leclerc and the rest of the team will want to try and turn the disappointment of this weekend around when the on-track action resumes at the Hungaroring next weekend.