Max Verstappen defends Charles Leclerc: He didn't do it on purpose.

Spinning into the barrier at the Variante Alta chicane, Max Verstappen says Charles Leclerc “doesn’t need to hear” from anyone that he made a mistake, he knows.

Verstappen controlled Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from lights to flag with his team-mate Sergio Perez bringing home Red Bull’s first 1-2 result since 2016.

Leclerc tried to put an end to that late in the race when he stopped for fresh soft tyres in the hope of chasing down the Mexican driver.

But instead he got it wrong, spinning in the barrier at the Variante Alta chicane.

Leclerc damaged his front wing and had to pit for repairs, dropping down to ninth from where he recovered to P6.

But on a day when third was his for the taking, the championship leader was left disappointed at having lost seven points.

He'll come back stronger đź’Ş#ImolaGP @ScuderiaFerrari pic.twitter.com/7sDU1CJtUN

— Formula 1 (@F1) April 24, 2022

“The mistake is easily done because he was pushing hard to try and fight Checo but it is painful [for him],” Verstappen said.

“I think he knows that himself, he doesn’t need to hear it from anyone in here.

“But still it is such a long championship and yes we gained a lot of points so it is not great [for him] but he cannot change it now and he didn’t do it on purpose.”

Verstappen’s victory means the Red Bull driver is up to second in the Drivers’ Championship, 27 points behind Leclerc.

It was his second victory of this season to go with his Saudi Arabian success. However, his record for the season also includes two DNFs, Bahrain and Australia.

Red Bull insisted prior to the Imola weekend that they had resolved their issues while the team also brought upgrades to the Italian circuit.

Asked if he felt his RB18 was now the fastest car on the grid, Verstappen replied: “It’s always difficult to tell. Every track is different. If you looked at Melbourne, definitely not. But it’s all about…

“At the end it’s details, you know, you have to always make sure that you have a good balance in the car, and you can have the fastest car, but if you have a bad balance, it’s not working.

“So or you have to look after your tyres, you know, and these kind of things are very crucial with these new cars.

 

“And Miami, again, will be a big question mark, and it will probably be a bit hit or miss for some people. Hopefully of course, we will do well, but you don’t know at the moment.”

 

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