Jolyon Palmer thinks that Charles Leclerc should have been investigated by the stewards over his first-lap incident with Pierre Gasly at the Styrian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver clashed with Gasly on the run up to Turn 3, resulting in the Frenchman having to retire due to the damage sustained to his AlphaTauri. Meanwhile Leclerc made a pit stop to replace his front wing and emerged at the back of the pack before pulling off an impressive recovery drive to eventually finish in seventh place.
Despite this, former F1 driver Palmer believes that Leclerc was to blame for the collision with Gasly.
"I’m also very surprised he didn’t get investigated by the stewards for the incident as well, because in my view he was clearly at fault," Palmer wrote in his column for Formula1.com.
"Gasly couldn’t really move to the right because [Fernando] Alonso was there, while Leclerc had plenty of space on his left to avoid the clash.
"Race Director Michael Masi said after the race that because this was a first lap incident he noted it, but didn’t feel it necessary to refer it to the stewards. In some instances this is a good way to go, because often on the first lap when tyres are cold and space is very limited tiny misjudgments can have significant consequences, and drivers are often squeezed from multiple angles.
"But in the Styrian Grand Prix, Leclerc’s error was a more basic misjudgment that ended the race of another driver and it actually didn’t really have anything to do with the fact that it was the start and they were all on cold tyres – he just moved over in a straight line and caused a collision."
However, Palmer remains impressed by how Leclerc was able to bounce back from his early struggles in the Grand Prix.
"Either way Leclerc got away with it, and made the most of his free-pass because his recovery drive was exemplary," Palmer said.
"When a driver is on the back foot, with the race seemingly gone, it can go one of two ways: either they wilt and feel all is lost, and lose that final bit of drive to push the car to its maximum for lap after lap; or they get red mist, the bit between their teeth and put in an aggressive, no second chances recovery charge. It was the latter we saw from Leclerc on Sunday."
The former Formula 1 driver added: "It completed a drive of two halves for Leclerc. A sloppy error which was made up for with a feisty recovery drive to score good points for his team. With the pace Ferrari had in the race in Styria, though, they will be hoping that next week’s Grand Prix, at the same circuit, will be more straightforward."
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