Max Verstappen, Red Bull Formula 1 driver, shoved Charles Leclerc off track a the Start of Las Vegas Grand Prix. He feels FIA steward “probably made the right call” for handing him penalty.
Verstappen and polesitter Leclerc started from the front row while they collided inside Turn 1 to take the lead.
The grip remained scarce as the drivers struggled to push at the brand new track. Fernando Alonso and other drivers struggled to find the grip at Turn 1. Similarly, Verstappen couldn’t find the grip and run deep into Leclerc.
The Red Bull driver kept the lead during investigation of the incident. Stewards handed him five second penalty for pushing Leclerc off track.
The world champion took his 18th win of the season at Las Vegas. Leclerc kept challenging him throughout the race. He admitted that he deserved the penalty but revealed that initially he had different opinion.
“We both braked quite late to defend the position, but I was a bit on the inside,” said Verstappen.
“As soon as you go offline here, it’s super low grip. And that’s what happened. I braked and there was no grip.
“I didn’t mean to push Charles off the track, but I couldn’t slow it down and just kept sliding on four wheels wide.
“At the time, I was also full of adrenaline and I was unhappy with the decision. But, looking back at it, that was probably the right call.”
Leclerc close the gap and passed the Red Bull driver before the latter went in for pit stop. Verstappen exit the pit stop with fresher hard tyres trying to regain his lost spot.
Verstappen went into Turn 12 to pass Russell, but Briton closed his way. The latter received 5 second penalty for causing the collision.
“He didn’t do that on purpose,” Verstappen felt. “I think he just didn’t expect me to pass him into that corner.
“Because that’s how it felt, I put it on the inside and he just turned in like there was no one there. So, I guess he didn’t see me.”