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Leclerc clarifies why he did not overtake Verstappen after red flag

Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, and Charles Leclerc racing in Imola. Credits: Red Bull Content Pool.

Charles Leclerc explained why he did not overtake Red Bull’s driver, Max Verstappen, during the race re-start after the red flag. 

The Dutch driver was leading the race during the re-start after the red flag was shown to the drivers following the heavy crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell. However, Max lost control of his RB16B at the penultimate corner. Luckily for him, he kept control of his machinery and did not spin. 

Leclerc later explained that he did not overtake Verstappen since the Dutch did not fully leave the track. Thus, if the Monegasque passed him, he could have risked taking a penalty. 

“I considered it [overtaking],” Leclerc continued, “at one point, but at the same time, I backed off. I think looking back at it, it was the right choice because I think he always had one wheel on the track.

“And so, I backed off and because he didn’t completely spin as we’ve seen. So, I thought about it, but it was too late, and he was already back in front.”

However, Lando Norris, who was just behind Charles in P3, said that he would have overtaken Max. 

“I had a great view of it – it’s quite funny,” he said. “I think Charles could’ve gone past, in my opinion.

“At that stage, Max was out of control and going left, and Charles can’t just hit the brakes and slow down and stop. At some point, he has to go past Max because he was facing the barrier for a lot of the corner.

“I dunno – we have to maybe ask the guys in charge what the exact ruling is. But going off track, then it’s all four wheels off the track and the example of yesterday [where Norris lost his best Q3 time for fractionally running too wide at Piratella].

“But at the same time, Max was going very slow, so it’s like Leclerc could’ve driven past him at that point. I’m not sure. If I was in P2 I think I would’ve gone for it, because you have a chance of winning then. So, it’s a risk [that’s] worth it.”

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