Charles Leclerc denies he was rebuked and gagged by Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto immediately after the chequered flag at Sunday’s British GP.
Obviously furious with Ferrari’s strategy calls that ultimately left teammate Carlos Sainz to win his first Formula 1 race, Leclerc was on the receiving end of Binotto’s wagging finger before he spoke to the media.
“He wanted to cheer me up, that’s all,” Leclerc, whose points deficit to Max Verstappen only diminished to 43 points amid his Red Bull rival’s own problems on Sunday, said of the Binotto dressing-down.
Binotto insisted there was “nothing to sort out internally”.
“It was simply to tell him ‘I understand your disappointment, but you did a fantastic race today’. Being happy is difficult, but staying calm and positive is important,” the Italian added.
Leclerc responded: “We will have to look at things overall.
“As for me, I can only talk about the race and I feel like I lost too much time. But that’s just my opinion.
“I don’t want all the attention on my disappointing performance anyway. My teammate had his first Formula 1 race win and this is a special occasion,” he added.
“But I can’t hide my disappointment.”
When asked if he felt it was a missed opportunity to close the gap to Verstappen more significantly, Leclerc admitted: “It’s pretty obvious.”
Verstappen struggled to finish just seventh with a “broken” car, declaring that there was “nothing left” of parts of his floor when he inspected it in parc ferme.
As for the racing, Sunday was declared one of the brightest spots in modern F1 history, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez saying it was clear evidence that the new regulations are working.
The big winners of the weekend, however, were not only Alex Albon who was cleared after precautionary hospital checks, but also Guanyu Zhou, who says the once-controversial Halo innovation “saved me today”.
Formula 2 driver Roy Nissany was also thanking Halo after the support race on Sunday for protecting his head from the launched car of Dennis Hauger.
Mercedes’ George Russell says there is still work to be done on safety.
“I went over to see if he was ok,” he said after the horrifying Zhou crash.
“He was stuck there – he couldn’t do anything. I think we need to think about how to make sure the car doesn’t get stuck in such narrow places with the driver unable to get out.”