The visor tear that ruined Leclerc’s career was Verstappen’s

The torn visor that forced Charles Leclerc to make an early pit stop at the Belgian Grand Prix was dropped by his championship rival Max Verstappen, Ferrari believes.

The coincidence came after Verstappen removed a starter on the first lap of the race at the exit of Paul Frere, Turn 16. He said he did so because he “couldn’t see anything” due to dust kicked up by other drivers. . Leclerc also scrapped a snatch at the same point in the first lap.

Verstappen dropped his snatch from the right side of the car. Leclerc was following behind at the time and his right front brake duct absorbed the tear, causing it to overheat which led to Ferrari calling him in for an early pit stop to remove it. That early pit stop compromised his strategy, and Leclerc finished sixth while Verstappen won.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the tear came from Verstappen’s car. The overheating it caused also damaged a sensor, which meant the team was unable to measure Leclerc’s speed with the usual accuracy, leading him to break the pit lane speed limit later in the race, receiving a penalty.

“The reason we pushed too hard is because it was just on the limit,” Binotto explained. “Unfortunately, we weren’t using our normal sensors to measure speed because they had failed during the overheating of the right front end due to the [tear-off] of Max and our recovery strategy just maybe wasn’t [so] accurate.” The FIA ​​confirmed that Leclerc exceeded the 80 km/h speed limit on pit road by just 1 km/h.

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Verstappen and Leclerc followed behind the cars that kicked up gravel and dust on the first lap as the drivers avoided the slowdown of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes after his collision with Fernando Alonso.

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“People were going to the gravel, they were going back to the track and of course they were defending their places,” Verstappen explained. “I was literally trying to stay out of it. But you don’t want to waste too much time either.

“So of course with Lewis driving there, I don’t know, the car was broken, I think it was holding everything up. And then of course everyone tries to benefit from that. So people were going two wide and I went inside, but then of course Lewis pulled it off, which is correct. But then I had to move to the left.

“It was super hectic and very dirty as well. I took the tear out because I could hardly see anything just from the front sector, like everyone who goes through the grass and gravel. But we survived unscathed.”

Verstappen said he didn’t know what set Leclerc back early in the race until Carlos Sainz Jr. explained it to him.

“Carlos told me it was a tear,” Verstappen said. “I did not know, I did not know it. I hope he’s not mine, but there was a lot of stuff. Honestly, people were putting things out.

“It’s very unfortunate, to be honest, for that to happen. You are always afraid that it will happen, especially when you are in the peloton, especially on a track like this, you take them off very quickly. That is your worst nightmare that these things happen. But unfortunately they happen.”

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Belgian Grand Prix 2022

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