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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc verdict on Verstappen Sprint near-miss

Verstappen was aggressive in his defence on the run to Turn 1 in the United States Grand Prix Sprint.

Leclerc Verstappen US
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has insisted he would have "done exactly the same" when dismissing any complaints over Max Verstappen's Sprint start defence at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Red Bull driver started from pole for the 19-lap race that preceded the United States Grand Prix and immediately cut across the track to take the space away from Leclerc on the run to Turn 1.

Monegasque Leclerc was squeezed off the track and onto the red-painted apron before losing out to Lewis Hamilton on the exit of the first corner as the Mercedes driver capitalised on the Ferrari's shallow apex point.

Asked if he felt Verstappen's defence was over the limit, Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.com: "To be honest, I would have done exactly the same if I was in his position.

"It was on the limit but as I have said in the past, that is the way I like to fight. It didn't play out my way but that is fine.

"It is a part of racing and I am happy with it."

Tyre struggles

Despite at one point holding a lead of over six seconds over McLaren's Lando Norris in the race for third in the Sprint, the duo crossed the finish line nose-to-tail, though Leclerc held onto the top-three finish.

"We struggled a little bit with the tyres so we need to work a little bit for the race because this is going to be key.

"We seemed to be struggling with the rear tyres towards the end. We have got to try to understand what we can do better even though we cannot change the car. Let's see."

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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