Ferrari‘s performance at the Styrian Grand Prix was no less than a horror show. The team gained ‘zero’ points for the race after a collision between Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, ruled out both cars in the first few laps.
Going into turn 3 Leclerc tried to go past Sebastian Vettel on the inside but hit a curb and went flying into the back of Vettel’s SF1000. The German’s car suffered a broken rear wing and was forced to retire immediately.
However, Leclerc pushed on with a damaged car, for a couple of laps, before realizing that soldering through the race with an ailing car was a futile struggle.
After the collision with his teammate, an anxious Charles was heard on the radio asking what sort of damage he had suffered. He said, “Check the car, please. I think someone touched me in the back. Box this lap, box this lap. Is everything fine on the rear?
“Oh no guys, there is something wrong no? Can you please tell me, is it big damage or small damage, what is it?” On hearing his race engineer say that there was some damage to the left rear of the floor, Charles said, “Oh, I’m pretty sure it’s a huge damage. Very difficult to drive, I’ll try to continue but…”
He was then told that he was missing 100 points of downforce on the rear. The Monegasque reacted by saying, “F**k. I want to finish this race, let’s try at least. I’ll go slow, I’m not going to try to overtake with 100 points lacking.”
However, soon thereafter, he got the message to come into the pits and retire the car. After the race, Leclerc admitted that the collision was his fault and absolved Vettel of any wrongdoings.
Leclerc’s Styrian Grand Prix was in complete contrast to his performance in the season opener. Just last week, at the very same circuit, Leclerc had his best race (by his own admission) and finished in P2 after he started the race in 9th position.
But Sunday’s performance just goes to show the ‘rollercoaster-like’ nature of an F1 driver’s career. Scaling the peak of Mt. Everest one day, only to be stuck in the Mariana Trench the very next day.