Charles LeClerc’s guardian angel got a major workout at today’s Belgian Grand Prix. LeClerc felt “lucky” after seeing the damage sustained by his Sauber’s HALO. The Monegasque driver was an innocent victim in a crash instigated by Nico Hulkenberg. The 20-year old got the shock of his life when an airborne Fernando Alonso swiped across his face.
Hulkenberg rear-ended Alonso, under braking for La Source. The impact sent the McLaren somersaulting over Leclerc’s car, making contact with Leclerc’s halo device in the process. The main objective of the HALO was to improve driver safety and it did just that, as far as LeClerc was concerned.
He said: “I don’t know how it would have ended up without it, but looking at it, I’m happy it was there.
“I’ve been lucky on this one. Looking at the halo, it’s not looking good.”
The rookie escaped completely unhurt in the crash, and said that the images are “quite spectacular but it was not that big in the car”.
Leclerc explained that the incident happened so quickly that he did not realise what was happening at the time.
The rookie initially thought Alonso had made a mistake under braking but has since watched the incident back and knows it was triggered by a Hulkenberg lock-up.
Hulkenberg has been given a 10-place grid penalty for the Italian GP, with the stewards noting the similarity to the 2012 Belgian GP crash that led to Romain Grosjean being banned for a race.
Leclerc said he was “not angry” with Hulkenberg and did not believe it merited a ban.
“Nico is not a driver that has a past and you can see it’s not deliberate what he did,” said Leclerc. “I don’t think [a ban is right] for this type of mistake.
“If something is deliberate and dangerous than a ban should occur but not in this situation.”