Lewis Hamilton wants a ‘talk’ with Leclerc after Monza F1 incident

Giles Richards Monza
The Guardian

Lewis Hamilton has called for consistency in penalty decision-making in Formula One, after he felt Charles Leclerc had not obeyed the rules during his victory at the Italian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver insisted Leclerc, who took his second win for Ferrari at Monza, had deserved the success but also said he may speak to the Monegasque driver in private about what had happened on track.

Related: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc delights Italian F1 GP crowd with Monza win

Leclerc took the win after the two drivers had enjoyed a long battle. It had come to a head at the Roggia chicane where Hamilton looked to pass but Leclerc squeezed him wide. Hamilton believed he had not been left a car’s width of space as the regulations require but Leclerc was issued only with a warning. Hamilton said that had he not ceded the position they would have clashed and specifically referenced the car’s width regulation.

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“We’ve just constantly asked for consistency,” said Hamilton of the stewards. “There was a rule put in place, and then it wasn’t abided by today. They used different consequences for the rule today. I don’t know why that was the case. I guess the stewards woke up on a different side of the bed this morning, I don’t know.”

<span class="element-image__caption">Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari leads Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes during the F1 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images</span>
Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari leads Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes during the F1 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Leclerc believed he had left enough room and explained his driving style had been influenced since he was beaten by Max Verstappen at the Austrian Grand Prix earlier this year. At Spielberg Verstappen passed him up the inside, making contact, forcing Leclerc wide and he lost the place. After a long inquiry Verstappen’s move and win were allowed to stand.

Related: Jackie Stewart’s glorious 1969: ‘I had a fantastic team around me’

“I think since Austria it is clear you can go a bit further in the way we defend and overtake and the aggressiveness of us drivers,” he said. “I believe that Austria helped me to change this approach and today, it’s also thanks to this that I managed to win. It was obviously very on the limit but I’m happy to race like this.”

Hamilton in turn noted that he too would adjust his decision-making accordingly now he had been on the receiving end but insisted there was no lack of respect between him and the 21-year-old.

“He did a fantastic job today. I put on as much pressure as I could,” he said. “We had a couple of close moments, I think we can probably talk about it in private together, but there’s nothing major, and we continue to race. I’m looking forward to more races together.”

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