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Binotto “surprised” by stewards’ approach to Leclerc penalty

Charles Leclerc at the Japanese GP. Credits: @ScuderiaFerrari (Twitter).

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto stated that he was “surprised” by how quickly the stewards decided to hand Charles Leclerc a time penalty.

Leclerc was defending from Sergio Perez on the final lap of the Japanese GP and went off the track at the Casio Triangle section. Shortly after, the Monegasque was given a 5-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

As a result, Leclerc was demoted to 3rd place which allowed Max Verstappen to win the 2022 title.

Binotto highlighted that it took more time for the stewards to make a decision in Singapore where race winner Sergio Perez failed to stay within 10 car lengths of the Safety Car.

“Seven days after Singapore, where they took so many laps to decide and then after the race, we had to hear from the drivers to take a simple decision which was straightforward, today they took it in a few seconds.

“[I’m] surprised by such different behaviors between Singapore and here, after only a few days.”

Nevertheless, Binotto confirmed that Ferrari will not appeal the decision.

“Was the decision of a 5-second penalty right or wrong? In our view, he [Leclerc] honestly didn’t gain the advantage. He was ahead, he stayed ahead, he’s got the gap, he kept the same gap. So still arguable, but that is the way they decided, which we will accept.

“If you go straight for the decision as they are obvious, as they should be, then five seconds at least penalty in Singapore should have been given immediately.

“[This] would have given us the opportunity to manage certainly a lot differently the situation, and it could have been a potential victory.

“So, frustrated and disappointed by that as well.”

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