Leclerc given grid penalty for causing Sakhir GP crash

Manama (AFP) –


Charles Leclerc was handed a three-place grid penalty for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after being ruled to have caused the first-lap crash in Sunday's dramatic Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver collided with eventual race winner Sergio Perez's Racing Point when he misjudged his braking at Turn Four.

He lost control and skewed off the track into the barriers, causing Red Bull's Max Verstappen to take evasive action, which resulted in him going through a gravel trap and into the barriers with Leclerc.

Perez spun, but continued and then drove from last to claim his maiden Formula One triumph.

The stewards ruled that Leclerc had "braked too late" and they ruled he was responsible for the accident.

"It was too late for me to slow down," admitted Leclerc. "I don't think it's a mistake from Checo (Perez) and I'm not putting the blame on Checo. If there's anybody to blame today, it's me."

Verstappen, who kicked the barriers in frustration, said Leclerc's actions had been "reckless", especially on the opening lap.

"I don't know why they were being so aggressive and so reckless," he said. "We are all up in the front and at the end of the day, now, three cars basically were the victim of that -- two cars heavily."