Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was right in the thick of action at the Japanese Grand Prix 2019. Though to be completely honest, he was the cause of most of it, when he practically speared into Max Verstappen.
In the end, Leclerc came away with some damage and wounded pride, but Verstappen was out. Leclerc’s car sustained heavy front wing damage, as well as some damage to the side of the car.
130R one-handed whilst holding a mirror? Piece of cake. pic.twitter.com/sJfpDTpYBv
— Ky (@FiftyBucksss) October 13, 2019
It got to a point where Charles Leclerc had to literally hold one of his rear-view mirrors. In fact, he did something daring and held onto the mirror through the fast 130R corner. Later on in the race, the mirror broke off and was never to be seen again, though it would make a good souvenir for a lucky marshal or fan.
Due to his antics, and the fact that he did not pit for repairs when instructed, Charles Leclerc copped a 15-second penalty. Max Verstappen, the unfortunate victim of the first lap assault was none too pleased when the FIA dropped the investigation initially. He also found it odd that Sebastian Vettel was not investigated for a jump-start.
Speaking about the incident with the Red Bull, Leclerc said, “My mistake in turn one. It ruined Max’s race and put [ourselves] in a bad position for the remaining of the race.”
It was also worth noting that when Charles Leclerc initially refused to pit for repairs, he quickly regretted that decision. As it turned out, he could not see the extent of the damage, and bit and pieces of carbon fibre littered the track, some nearly hitting Lewis Hamilton in the face.
The World champion elect was lucky not to meet any large debris head on, or it would have been a repeat of the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. On that fateful day, Felipe Massa was hit in the helmet by a stray spring during the qualifying session. The incident put the Ferrari driver out of action for the rest of the season.