Charles Leclerc was hugely disappointed after his Hungarian Grand Prix lasted no further than the first corner of the first lap – and insisted blame lay 100% with Lance Stroll for the Lap 1 crash that put them both out of the race, describing the ensuing mayhem as being akin to a “bowling game”.
Rain fell at the race start at the Hungaroring, prompting all 20 drivers to start on intermediate tyres. Up at the front, Valtteri Bottas triggered a crash at Turn 1 that took out Lando Norris and Sergio Perez, as well as damaging Max Verstappen’s car.
Further down the order, Stroll dived down the inside at Turn 1 and hit Leclerc’s Ferrari hard on the sidepod, immediately taking them both of the race – and spinning Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren through 180 degrees as well – before the race was red flagged.
And after climbing out of his wrecked Ferrari, Leclerc – who had started P7 – was in no doubt as to who was to blame.
“I don’t know what to say, I mean, in most of incidents I can understand whenever there are different views about incidents but I think today it’s very very clear and I was in my corner and just Lance drove into me in the middle of the corner coming out from nowhere.
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix: Stroll crashes into Leclerc at race start
“It’s hugely frustrating because I knew it was an opportunity today; I went quite easy at the beginning to just try and stay in my position, and make our race later on, and then to finish like this is just s***.”
When asked how much damage his SF21 car had sustained he said: “It was big. I mean I arrived at the braking point of the next corner and I basically spun straight away so it’s like this.”
He said he had yet to speak to Stroll about the incident, and was still unaware why the Aston Martin driver had speared into his car.
“The only thing I see is that he was very very far away and then he hit me and then the reason I don’t know, but obviously it’s, yes. It’s a shame.”
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For his part, Stroll said the slippery conditions made things difficult, but conceded it had been “a disaster”.
“I… just challenging conditions, a lot going on and just a shame I’m here now unfortunately,” he said. “It was just really tricky, very slippery and yes I tried to avoid the cars in front of me and it was just a disaster. It’s very frustrating.”
Lance Stroll’s reacts to ‘disaster’ Hungarian Grand Prix start crash