Charles Leclerc keeps Abu Dhabi GP podium but Ferrari fined
Ferrari handed big €50,000 fine from stewards for declaring wrong fuel weight on Leclerc's car before season-ending race
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 02/12/19 7:36am
Charles Leclerc has kept his Abu Dhabi GP podium but Ferrari have received a large fine for a fuel infringement ahead of the season-closing race.
Leclerc finished in third place, but stewards had already placed his Ferrari under investigation before the race had even started.
A technical report issued by the FIA some 40 minutes before the start had said there was a "significant difference" between the amount of fuel in the car and that declared by Ferrari before Leclerc left the pit lane to go to the grid.
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Stewards investigated afterwards but imposed a financial penalty on the team rather than a sporting one on Leclerc.
"The stewards determined that the team should be fined €50,000 for its inaccurate declaration," confirmed a statement.
Why were Ferrari fined?
The Scuderia fell foul of a technical directive which states that teams must declare the amount of fuel in their car from the moment they head for the grid.
"There was a difference of 4.88kgs between the team's declaration for car 16 and the Technical Delegate's measured fuel mass," explained the stewards' statement.
"The team's declaration was therefore inaccurate and constituted a breach of the Technical Directive. This in turn constitutes an infringement of Article 12.1.1.i of the International Sporting Code."
The confirmed Abu Dhabi GP result
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
6. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
7, Sergio Perez, Racing Point
8. Lando Norris, McLaren
9. Daniil Kvat, Toro Rosso
10. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
Leclerc finishes ahead of Vettel
Irrespective of whether Leclerc had received a penalty or not, the Monegasque was guaranteed to finish ahead of illustrious team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers' Championship in his first year at Maranello.
Leclerc, who finished fourth to Vettel's fifth, ended up outscoring the German by 24 points and became just the second team-mate to finish a season ahead of him in F1.
Daniel Ricciardo in 2014 at Red Bull was the other.
"I didn't have that confidence [that he would beat him]," admitted Leclerc to Sky F1. "I always thought that if I did the job correctly I was pretty sure success would come, but Seb is a four-times world champion so it would have been difficult to believe it.
"But I'm very happy of my first season. There has been progress, there has also been mistakes, but I have learnt from mistakes and I'm pretty sure it will be useful for 2020 to have a better season."