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07 Dec 2019, Edition - 1607, Saturday

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Sports

Ferrari summon Vettel and Leclerc to headquarters after Brazil collision

https://www.theguardian.com/

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have been summoned by Ferrari to the Italian team’s Maranello headquarters following their collision in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari drivers crashed out with five laps remaining as they diced for fourth position. Team principal Mattia Binotto refused to apportion blame and also ruled out fining either driver. But both men, withdrawn by Ferrari from a scheduled media briefing in Interlagos on Sunday evening, will be reminded of their responsibilities to the team at a crisis summit this week.

“When doing things in the heat of the moment, you can come to the wrong conclusion,” said Binotto. “I have heard from both drivers, but I will meet with them to discuss what happened. There will be time for the team to analyse the video and data. It is not a matter of fining or blaming. We let them race, but being free to fight doesn’t mean they should make silly mistakes. In truth, this sort of thing should never happen.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won a chaotic race from pole position, his third victory of the season, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly a surprise second, and Carlos Sainz third for McLaren. Sainz, who ended McLaren’s five-season podium drought, was promoted one place after world champion Lewis Hamilton had been dealt a five-second post-race penalty following the Briton’s late collision with Alex Albon.

The coming together cost rookie, Albon, 23, his first career podium, and Hamilton was swift to accept his responsibility for the accident. “I apologise to Alex, and I hold my hands up for what happened,” said Hamilton, who was demoted to seventh and hit with two penalty points on his drivers’ licence. “I totally accept the blame. It was not my intention and you hardly ever see me collide with anyone. In hindsight I could have waited to make the move, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“An opportunity arose and I was in shooting distance of Alex. I gave it a shot because in my mind I was trying to catch Max [Verstappen] for the win. That won’t be the last time Alex is in position for a podium. He will have many more great races so, as hard a pill as it is for him to swallow, I hope he can learn from the experience.”

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