Video evidence shows it was Verstappen’s cut to Leclerc’s brake duct

Leclerc’s hopes of overtaking the pack at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday in the wake of his engine grid penalty were dashed early on when he was forced to pit on lap three after seeing smoke coming out of the brake duct. front right.

At the stop, where he changed tires, Ferrari discovered that the problem had been caused by a tear in the visor that had gotten stuck in the brake duct.

This would have blocked the flow of air to the brake disc and caused it to overheat. It is something that in the past has been enough to force cars to withdraw from racing.

While the trim strips are fairly uniform, making it almost impossible to tell one driver from another, it is understood that Ferrari examined the on-board footage from the first lap to determine exactly where it came from.

This showed that in the wake of the melee caused by Lewis Hamilton’s car slowing down in the pack which spewed water and other fluids, Verstappen was one of several drivers forced to remove a tear in Paul Frere’s (Stavelot) high-speed race. to Blanchimont.

The world champion later admitted: “It was very hectic, and also very dirty. I took the tear out because I could hardly see anything just for the front sector, like everyone just going to the grass, to the gravel, but we survived without damage.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, in the pits

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, in the pits

Photo by: Steven Tee/Motorsport Images

With Leclerc running right behind Verstappen at the time, footage showed it was the Red Bull driver’s snatch that was thrown directly into the Ferrari driver’s path and jammed in his brake duct.

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Asked by Autosport after the race about the possibility that it was his tear in Leclerc’s car, Verstappen said: “I hope it’s not mine. But there was a lot of stuff, honestly, people…everyone was putting things out and it’s very unfortunate, to be honest, for that to happen.

“You’re always afraid of it happening, especially when you’re in the peloton because… especially on a track like this, you take them off so quickly. That is your worst nightmare, that these things happen, but yes, unfortunately they do happen.

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As well as being forced to make an early stop that put him out of race sequence, overheating from the start also ruined a sensor on Leclerc’s car that forced him to accelerate into the pits when he made a late stop to try to get the bonus point for the fastest lap.

Leclerc’s five-second pitlane speeding penalty relegated him from fifth to sixth in the results behind Fernando Alonso, while the Ferrari driver also failed his fastest lap attempt.

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