Verstappen retires after Charles Leclerc clash

Suzuka, Japan

Japanese Grand Prix – Max Verstappen has retired from the Japanese GP at Suzuka, after a Lap 1 clash with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen has been forced to retire on Lap 15 of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, after his RB15 was damaged badly in a first lap clash.

Starting from P5, the Dutch driver had a great start to be able to get alongside Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari around the outside of Turn 2. However, Leclerc squeezed Verstappen out to the outside of the corner, with the two cars making contact. Leclerc’s front left corner was damaged, with his wing endplate hanging off and sparking along the ground.

Verstappen was pitched sideways across the grass and fell down the order as he angrily shouted over team radio: “Where was I supposed to go?” He pitted for repairs and a fresh set of tyres, but continued to struggle badly afterwards as he was down in P17.

Red Bull were concerned about the amount of damage to the car, and withdrew him from the race on Lap 15 as they feared something more critical breaking on the car.

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Thomas Maher

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