Leclerc ‘completely taking the p***’ as radio engineer fumes at Las Vegas GP

Charles Leclerc attracted the anger of Kevin Magnussen’s race engineer during FP3 after he made a high-speed pass around the outside of the rapid Turn 17 left-hander, having already narrowly avoided contact earlier on the lap.

The two drivers were side by side on track with Magnussen on the inside, although he eventually backed out to let Leclerc steam around the outside.

This ruined the start of Magnussen’s next lap as Turn 17 represents the run to the line ahead of the short run down to Turn One, leaving the Danish driver annoyed and his race engineer furious.

His engineer, new recruit Mark Slade, came over the radio to vent his frustrations to his driver, stating: “Leclerc completely taking the p*** there,” to which Magnussen responded: “Yeah, completely.”

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The more disappointing incident for Magnussen and Slade had occurred earlier in the lap though, with Leclerc encountering the Haas driver on the racing line at the chicane.

Leclerc attempted to make his way around the outside of Magnussen but was forced to go off the track to do so, resulting in a close shave with the barriers for the Dane and almost contact between the pair. 

This rounded off what was a frustrating session for Leclerc. The Monegasque driver topped both FP1 and FP2 on the opening day of the weekend, but his fastest time was only good enough for P16 in FP3.

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Despite this setback, the Ferrari driver is likely to be the favourite to claim pole position later on today. His pace in FP2 was comfortably clear of his rivals and he is well-placed to fight for his fifth pole of the season.

However, it won’t be all smiles for the Scuderia, even if Leclerc does clinch pole position. Carlos Sainz will have to start the race with a ten-place grid penalty after a water valve cover destroyed the floor and power unit of his SF-23 on Friday.

Discussing his frustrations after FP2, team principal Fred Vasseur said: “We have to pay a mega price for this. And on the top, you have the penalty when you know that we are fighting for the championship, and 10 places is a huge hit.”

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