Charles Leclerc handed brutal penalty after Max Verstappen collision at Japan GP

Charles Leclerc was penalised twice by the FIA, resulting in 15 seconds being taken off his final time and pushing him down to seventh.

The Japanese Grand Prix got off to frantic start through the first lap and Leclerc was at the centre of it.

While Sebastian Vettel had a false start, which he quickly corrected only to lose first place to Valtteri Bottas, Leclerc was quickly in a battle to fend off Max Verstappen round the first corner.

The 21-year-old ended up shunting into the side of Verstappen, which eventually caused the Red Bull driver to retire.

But Leclerc had also suffered severe damage to his front wing, with sparks flying as he drove across the track.

Ferrari were quick on the radio to get him to come into the pits for a replacement front wing, but Leclerc ignored those orders and stayed out for two more laps.

In the mean time, Lewis Hamilton was hot on his tail and complaining on team radio about being hit by debris from Leclerc’s car.

Images on lap three clearly showed a large chunk debris flying off and hitting Hamilton’s car, taking one of the wing mirrors off in the process.

Eventually Leclerc came into the pits, compromising his race for the day as he took the chequered flag in sixth behind Carlos Sainz.

Bizarrely, race stewards originally said no investigation was necessary for the Leclerc-Verstappen clash.

But they changed their minds later, deciding instead to investigate the incident after the race.

After a lengthy meeting with FIA officials, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto revealed Leclerc had been given two separate penalties mounting up to 15 seconds.

The first was a five-second penalty for his collision with Verstappen and another 10-second penalty for ignoring the FIA’s call to pit Leclerc due to damage.

It means Leclerc will drop down to seventh, pushing Daniel Ricciardo up to sixth.

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