Martin Brundle and Jenson Button voiced their disapproval after Charles Leclerc violated a gentleman's "agreement" which exists between Formula 1 racers.

The incident occurred during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. The tight nature of the short street track means traffic is inevitable in those sessions, but Leclerc was guilty of blatantly getting in the way of Lando Norris as the McLaren racer attempted a hot lap.

Norris had to brake sharply to avoid slamming into the back of the Ferrari at high speed in the tunnel section of the track. Replays showed Leclerc was being told about a Max Verstappen lap over the radio at the time, rather than being warned about the approaching Brit.

"It's one of those things, isn't it?" said Sky Sports pundit Button, who appeared to have some sympathy for Leclerc. "You can't see cars behind you. You can't see the car in front when it goes dark in the tunnel." But he went on to point out the unwritten rule which exists among drivers about that particular section of the Monaco track.

"Your eyes take a while to react and as you can see Lando only knows Charles is in front when his lights start flashing on the back of his car. It's a dangerous place and we always had this agreement that you do not drive slowly through the tunnel."

The stewards took a dim view of the incident and punished Leclerc, who was angry about it in the cockpit as cameras showed him beating his steering wheel with his hand. He went third fastest in Q3, but was dropped to sixth place on the grid for his role in the near-miss.

Brundle felt the punishment was justified and pointed a finger at both the driver and his team for playing a part. He said: "I don't think that grid drop is a curse at all. I think it's really well deserved by driver and team for dawdling through the tunnel.

"They were busy discussing where they were on the grid and who was around them rather than thinking of other drivers getting their laps in. They need to sort that out."

It proved to be another difficult weekend for Ferrari overall, with Leclerc finishing sixth and Carlos Sainz two places further back. It meant they were again outscored by both Mercedes and Aston Martin and are losing ground to those teams above them in the constructors' championship.

2023-06-02T06:04:33Z dg43tfdfdgfd