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Max Verstappen

Verstappen delivers verdict on Leclerc penalty: 'It was the right call'

Max Verstappen was forced to overcome a five-second time penalty in Las Vegas en route to victory, his 18th win of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen Leclerc Las Vegas
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Max Verstappen has accepted that his five-second time penalty was “probably the right call” at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Verstappen was issued the punishment after he forced Charles Leclerc wide at the first corner of the race.

The Dutchman took the lead while off the track and opted to hold onto the position, forcing the Stewards to hand him a five-second time penalty.

After losing the lead while struggling on the Medium compound Verstappen served the penalty in the pit lane before setting out to reclaim the lead.

Verstappen successfully did so in the second half of the Grand Prix, overtaking Leclerc and team-mate Sergio Perez to secure his 18th victory of the year.

'I couldn't slow down'

Speaking after the race, Verstappen reflected that the low grip conditions at the start of the event caused him to overshoot the corner.

“The start was good. But then we both braked quite late to defend a position but I was a bit on the inside on the dirt, I guess," he told media including RacingNews365.

“As soon as you're a bit offline here, it's a super low grip and that's what happened. I braked and there was no grip.

“I didn't mean to push Charles off the track, but I couldn't slow it down and I just kept sliding wide on four wheels. So that's why we had to go wide.

“At the time, you're also full of adrenaline and I was not happy with the decision. But looking back at it was probably the right call.

“With that five-second penalty, it was definitely a bit harder to come back to the front.”

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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