Charles Leclerc dramatically crashes out of the French Grand Prix while leading… heading into the wall at turn 11 as title rival Max Verstappen extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with victory in Le Castellet
- Charles Leclerc has retired while leading a race for the third time this season
- He spun out on turn 11 and shouted ‘I cannot go to full throttle’ down the radio
- Max Verstappen enquired about his rival’s wellbeing and was told he was OK
- The Dutch driver extended his lead to 63 points by winning the race
Charles Leclerc dramatically crashed out of the French Grand Prix on Sunday while leading, allowing Max Verstappen to win and extend his World Championship lead to 63 points.
The Ferrari driver crashed into the wall at turn 11 – the highest speed corner on the Paul Ricard circuit – prompting the safety car to come out.
Leclerc emerged from his car quickly as his rivals quickly headed into the pit lane to make a stop, with Verstappen taking full advantage.
Charles Leclerc dramatically crashed out of the French Grand Prix on Sunday while leading
Ferrari mechanics react after watching Leclerc crash into the track wall on Sunday
This crash is the third instance this season of the 24-year-old retiring when leading a race.
He let out a scream of anger to his team after spinning into the wall, and shouted ‘I cannot go to full throttle!’
His rival for the World Championship title Max Verstappen asked ‘is he alright?’ over the radio, and was told ‘yes, I am told he is OK.’
The crash gave Max Verstappen a potentially vital lead in the Drivers’ Championship
Speaking after the crash, Leclerc said: ‘I am performing at the highest level of my career but if I keep the mistakes then it is pointless. If we lose the championship by 32 points I will know where they are coming from but it is unacceptable.
‘I go through the same process all the time and try to analyse. It is a mistake and that is it. It is trying to push too much and I lost the rear.
‘It has been a very difficult weekend for me, I struggled with the balance of the car. I did a mistake at the wrong moment.’
It is the third time Leclerc has retired while leading a Grand Prix this season
The crash allowed Max Verstappen to win in France, taking his points lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 63.
Lewis Hamilton finished second for the first time this season, with George Russell in third after holding off Sergio Perez.
The next Grand Prix will take place at Hungary’s Hungaroring in Budapest next weekend.