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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc defends 'unaware' Perez action after first lap collision

Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc made contact with home favourite Sergio Perez at Turn 1 in Mexico, leading to DNF for the Red Bull. However, Leclerc has agreed with Perez's view of the incident - with the Ferrari driver defending Perez's actions.

Perez Leclerc Verstappen Mexico
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Charles Leclerc has backed Sergio Perez's view that their first lap Mexico City Grand Prix collision was a racing incident, believing the Red Bull driver was simply "unaware" of where Max Verstappen was.

Leclerc bogged down from pole position, allowing Verstappen to slip up the inside and gain the inside line for the 811m charge down to Turn 1 - as Perez used the slipstream from both to make it three-abreast going into the braking zone.

The #11 Red Bull tried to swoop around the outside a la Verstappen himself in 2021 but failed, squeezing Leclerc who could not move further to his right, as this is where Verstappen was.

The RB19 was tipped into the air, suffering severe floor and sidepod damage with the team retiring the car, and denting Perez's hopes of finishing second in the championship.

Perez was defiant over the move, insisting he had to go for it but it was simply a racing incident - something Leclerc agreed with.

Leclerc backs Perez over Turn 1 move

"I think exactly the same, I mean I had nowhere to go," Leclerc told media including RacingNews365 when presented with Perez's claim that the collision was just a racing incident.

"I tried to stay on the right as much as possible, as close as I could to Max. But unfortunately, there was no space anymore for me to be any more to the right.

"I don't think Checo was aware that I had Max on my right and started to turn in, and when I saw that, I knew that we would collide at one point, which we did. After that, I was extremely surprised that I could finish the race.

"When I saw Checo with his rear wheel touching my front wheel, I was like: 'Okay, that's done for me.'

"Then I did two, three corners and it didn't feel too bad. Obviously, all was not great but it was not too bad and I could finish the race.

"On the radio, they told me that we were lacking, I think, 10 or 15 points [of downforce], but to be honest, I managed to drive around it and it didn't feel too bad, so that was positive."

Should Sergio Perez have tried the move he did at Turn 1? Let us know in the comments and by voting in the poll below!

F1 2023 Mexican Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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