Charles Leclerc’s Belgian Grand Prix was ruined by a visor tear-off strip from title rival Max Verstappen’s helmet getting into the brake ducts of his Ferrari.
Video footage has confirmed Verstappen tore off a visor in the opening stages and the small strip went into the right-front brake duct of Leclerc, who was racing directly behind.
That forced Leclerc into an unscheduled pit-stop and later would cost him fifth place — the visor getting stuck in the ducts led to a sensor failure which caused the Ferrari driver to speed in the pit-lane, earning him a five-second penalty which relegated him behind Fernando Alonso at the end of the race.
Verstappen won the race to open up a seemingly insurmountable 98-point lead over Leclerc with eight races to go.
“I hope it’s not mine,” Verstappen said after the race, adding that Leclerc had been “super unlucky”.
In the cool-down room after the race Verstappen was heard telling Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez he was still covered in dust from the first lap, when he took evasive action on lap one to avoid the fallout of Lewis Hamilton’s collision with Fernando Alonso.
The dust prompted Verstappen to tear off a visor strip a few corners later.
“It was super-hectic, and so much dirt as well. I pulled off my tear off because I barely could see anything just because of the previous sector, like everyone just going on the grass, on the gravel, but we survived without damage,” Verstappen said.
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.