Charles Leclerc has accepted blame and apologised to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari for colliding with his German team-mate on the opening lap of the Styrian Grand Prix.
Leclerc lost the rear of his Ferrari as he tried to go up the inside of Vettel at Turn 3, causing him to slide into the rear of his team-mates car.
Vettel lost his rear-wing and retired immediately, whilst Leclerc attempted to continue, but retired on the following lap after suffering extensive floor damage.
“I apologised,” said Leclerc. “Excuses are not enough in a time like this. I did a very bad job today, I let the team down, I can only be sorry even though I let the team down.
“The team doesn’t need that and I put all the hopes of the team in the bin. I’m very sorry, but it’s not enough, again.”
He later issued a further apology on social media, writing: “I am disappointed in myself. I’m sorry but being sorry is not enough.
“Sebastian hasn’t got any faults today. I’ve let the team down after them working a whole week to bring the updates early. Too eager to gain those places in the first lap. I will learn from it.”
Vettel admitted he was surprised by Leclerc’s move and was eager to see how the updates worked during the race.
“I was very surprised,” added Vettel. “I had the inside and wasn’t expecting Charles to try something. I was taking it easy as it was busy all around us.
“The car felt a lot better so it is a shame we don’t have the chance to test the race pace and our upgrades.”