Charles Leclerc says Max Verstappen’s controversial move to win the Austrian Grand Prix is “not the way you overtake” after their wheel-to-wheel Formula 1 battle ended in contact.
The two drivers bumped wheels as Verstappen finally overtook the Ferrari at the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill, one lap after a failed attempt in which they ran side-by-side without touching.
Immediately after the grand prix Verstappen questioned “the point of being in Formula 1” if that pass was considered illegal.
When asked by Motorsport.com in the official post-race press conference if he felt the win had been stolen from him, Leclerc said: “Red Bull was very quick today, very good at keeping the tyres better than us. [I'd have no qualms] if I feel that the overtake was done rightly - I don’t think the second one was.
“I believe that anyway the end will have probably been the same but it’s just not the way you overtake, I think.”
Verstappen had charged up the order from eighth on the opening lap after his Red Bull’s anti-stall kicked in and dropped him from the front row.
His first attempt to pass Leclerc was unsuccessful after Leclerc made use of more room on the outside line to hold on and outdrag Verstappen down to Turn 4.
However, the second attempt led to contact and a post-race stewards investigation that was due to begin at 18.00 local time.
Asked by Motorsport.com to talk through the differences between the two moves, Verstappen said: “I think the second one I braked a bit deeper into the corner. We had a little contact of course, mid-to-exit of the corner.
“From my side I think it’s racing. We all know there’s a crest in that corner as well, so if you take the crest wrong, because we both went a bit straight on, at one point you run out of room.
“But it’s hard racing. It’s better than just following each other and having a boring race.”
Leclerc said straight after the race that it was “pretty clear” in the car who was to blame.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he felt he could have done anything different to avoid the contact, Leclerc said: “I did the same thing from the first to the second lap. The only thing that changed from the first to the second lap was contact. And then I had to go wide, I lost quite a bit of time there.”
Pushed again on his role, Leclerc said: “I did not expect any contact on the second lap.
“As Max said he braked a little deeper. I don’t know if he lost it or not. But then there was the contact.
“I felt I was quite strong in traction on the first attempt, I managed to have a better traction and kept my position. On the second one I couldn’t do that because I was off-track.”