Charles Leclerc felt Ferrari Formula 1 teammate Sebastian Vettel tried to squeeze him as the pair collided during the closing stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The pair were battling over fourth place with five laps to go at Interlagos when they clashed. Leclerc had just dived down the inside of Turn 1 to get ahead of Vettel, before the German fought back on the run to Turn 4.

But Vettel moved left and made contact with Leclerc, resulting in race-ending damage to both cars.

“I’m not [mad], I just feel extremely sorry for the team,” Leclerc said.

“They deserved a lot better, both of the cars are out which is a huge shame, but on the other hand it was a great race before that. But I can’t really take the positives out of this race.

“On my side, in the car, I did a good overtake iunto Turn 1, and then on the run to Turn 4 I was in front. I knew Seb would try, I blocked the inside, and he tried around the outside.

“There was little space there but he knew he was there, and then I think he tried to squeeze me a little bit towards the end of the straight and we touched.

“It’s a shame, but I just feel sorry for the team, and we’ll analyse better the situation.

“I haven’t watched really well the images from the little I see, I’ve got my opinion, but we’ll see.”

Leclerc insisted the incident will not compromise his and Vettel’s relationship as he believes both drivers are “mature enough” to move on from it.

Vettel had appeared to pin the blame over Leclerc during an angry radio rant in the direct aftermath but was coy on the clash and refused to be drawn on who was at fault when he addressed the media.

“I didn’t have much space on the right, and obviously I had a better run out of Turn 3, and tried to pass - that’s it,” Vettel said.

“It’s a shame for the team obviously that we didn’t finish the race, that was the priority.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said both drivers must each take a share of the blame.

“I think anyhow when you are crashing two, there are two drivers, and I think both of them got at least a small percentage or part a percentage of responsibility,” he told Sky. “But again I don’t want to judge now.”

 

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