Leclerc admits his mistake was "unacceptable"


Charles Leclerc takes full responsibility for the unforced error that cost him an almost certain victory at Paul Ricard today.

Surely even the hardest heart would have been moved by the youngster's cry of anguish in the moments after his encounter with the tyre barrier after spinning off at Turn 11 just 17 laps into the race.

As the dust settled, asked by his team if he was okay, the Monegasque, clearly breathless, said the he couldn't get off the throttle.

A few moments silence, other than his laboured breathing, were followed by a haunting scream: "Noooo!" he cried.

Initially it was thought that he was referring to the same issue the plagued him in the final laps in Austria, but once back in the paddock Leclerc admitted to making a mistake.

"Obviously it's extremely frustrating," he said. "I feel like I'm performing at probably the highest level of my career since the beginning of the season. But there's no point of performing at a very high level if then I do those mistakes.

"I think there are 32 points in overall, 25 today, I think it was likely that we were going to win this race because we were fast, and seven in Imola with my mistake," he added.

"So at the end of the year we will count back and if there are 32 points missing then I know it's coming from me and I did not deserve to win the championship."

"For the second half of the season I need to get on top of those things if I want to be a world champion," he admitted.

Today's DNF leaves him 63 points adrift of Verstappen, almost three wins with his rival failing to score.

Revealing that he tried to rejoining the race after his off, he said: "I couldn't reverse which was a shame because then I saw the car and the car was actually not too damaged. We could still run.

"But this is a detail, first of all, I need to not put cars in the wall and then they should work better."

Asked about his driver's reference to the throttle, team boss, Mattia Binotto subsequently explained that Leclerc was referring to his attempt to rejoining the race.

"There was no issue with the throttle itself, it was nothing to do with Austria," said the Italian. "What happened is a genuine mistake of Charles which are things that may happen, and I think they do not take off how good he is as a driver and as a fantastic driver. But it was a genuine mistake.

"What you heard on the radio was about when he was in reverse gear trying to get out from the barriers. There is a strategy, without going in to all the details, that meant he was on the throttle, but didn't feel sufficient torque from the engine. It was nothing wrong, simply the strategy there."

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Published: 25/07/2022
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