Charles Leclerc has dismissed any proposal that he deliberately overturned at the end of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Leclerc’s collision with the wall ended Saturday’s session prematurely after setting the fastest time. It gave Ferrari its first pole position since Leclerc at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix.
Leclerc, who grew up in Monte Carlo, made a mistake at the exit of the swimming pool chicane that led to a crash against the wall. Max Verstappen was also on a time lap that he believed would have been good enough for pole, but red flags meant he had to abandon the lap.
Leclerc and Ferrari now have to wait in agony to see whether damage to the car will result in a penalty for the starting grid.
On the subject of his crash, he said, “If I did it on purpose I would make sure that I hit the wall a little less hard.
“That was obviously not on purpose. I exceeded the limit. Right now I’m just worried about the rear of the car. I hope it’s okay. It doesn’t look okay, but let’s wait and see.”
Verstappen was quick to point out that Leclerc’s mistake occurred on part of the route where he himself had crashed twice in the past.
When asked if there should be a rule to punish someone who crashes on the pole, Verstappen said, “Well I think there is a difference when a man makes a mistake and hits the wall or it does it on purpose does.
“I think if Charles had only parked with a broken front wing, that’s a different story. But of course he just cut off the wall in the beginning and ended up where I landed twice!
“So it’s just unhappy. Of course I’m disappointed not to have a shot at pole, but that’s life. Sometimes we can’t and it’s fine.
“I don’t think his lap should be erased in the future if you want to change the rules. I don’t think that would be fair because we’re all trying so hard and it’s not that easy here, especially at the limit.
“It’s easy to make a mistake.”
The crash will cast doubt on Leclerc’s pole position for the next few hours. If it damaged its gearbox, it would require a change with a five-place penalty.
Leclerc said doubts mean he can’t even think of starting his home race from the grid.
“I have mixed feelings because I don’t know where to start tomorrow when the accident occurs. That depends on the damage to the car.
“I hope the car isn’t damaged in such a way that we don’t start from behind.
“If it doesn’t, I’m incredibly happy with what happened before the crash. It wasn’t a great lap, the last one and I tried to do more in the last sector but there was too much to do to recover. ” and I did too much, touched the wall inside and went straight to the wall.
“It was very difficult for me to manage the entire session. I was obviously very emotional after the second quarter because I saw that there was actually an opportunity here to take pole position, to calm down and have a great lap in the third quarter to drive. then what happened, happened. “