Ferrari boss slams FIA for unfair Leclerc penalty

Ferrari boss slams FIA for unfair Leclerc penalty

Charles Leclerc finished second in qualifying and Carlos Sainz finished third, giving Ferrari hope that the Japanese Grand Prix will bring forth better results.

The race was not in the dry, despite the fact that qualifying was. The weather was the wettest it had been all weekend, but in practice on Friday, Ferrari had shown that it could perform well in the rain.

Leclerc got off to a strong start and caught up to pole-sitter Max Verstappen, but the Dutchman did well to keep his distance from the Monegasque to remain in control of the race. Meanwhile, Sainz got off to the worst possible start as the unfortunate Spaniard aquaplaned at Turn 12 after crossing one of the several rivers that were present at the Suzuka Circuit.

As a result, the Ferrari driver was forced to retire from the race after his F1-75 skidded over the track and crashed violently into the barrier on the exit.

The red flag was raised shortly after Sainz’s crash because the rain’s intensity had sharply increased. After a lengthy delay, the race did ultimately resume, and Leclerc had a solid start and attempted to put pressure on Verstappen.

Leclerc’s strategy backfired since the Ferrari driver’s Intermediate tyres quickly wore out, forcing Sergio Pérez to apply late pressure to the Monegasque.

Leclerc appeared to be holding onto second place for all the world, but on the final lap, the 24-year-old drove wide at the Turn 16/17 chicane, resulting in the Ferrari driver being given a five-second time penalty nearly soon after crossing the finish line in second place.

Leclerc was dropped to third and Pérez was moved up to second after it was determined that he had an unfair advantage. Verstappen received his second World Championship as a result, having outperformed both Pérez and Leclerc by the necessary number of points.

After the race, Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto was upset with the stewards and explained that they allegedly didn’t want to hear from Leclerc.

“Congratulations to Max,” said Binotto. “I don’t want to comment on the penalty because it’s ridiculous that they spent 3 hours in Singapore, but only a few minutes here.”

“Today they didn’t want to hear from the drivers, in Singapore they did… Charles didn’t gain an advantage.”

The penalty decision was made quickly compared to the two-hour delay it took to give Pérez a five-second time penalty last week, during which they consulted with the Mexican and the Monegasque driver before deciding whether or not to keep Pérez’s victory.

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