Charles Leclerc has dodged a grid penalty for his hometown in the Monaco Grand Prix, but has received his first accusation for the season for a violation under the Virtual Safety Car in FP3.
The Ferrari driver, who topped the closing exercise, was investigated for offenses after not keeping the minimum period set by the FIA for a virtual safety car period triggered when Sebastian Vettel crashed at Sainte Devote.
After a consultation with the FIA managers after FP3, Leclerc had reduced Turn 1 and Turn 2, where his teammate had crashed in front of him, but remained below the minimum lap time for a Virtual Safety Car period for Turn 8.
As a result, Leclerc has been given its first report of the year, but avoided a potential grid "consistent with similar cases during training sessions," according to a FIA statement.
"The Stewards evaluated video and telemetric evidence and heard from the driver of car 1[ads1]6 (Charles Leclerc) and team representative," reads the FIA statement.
"The driver managed clearly and appropriately bracked before Turn 1 in response to the incident at the corner. The VSC appeared when the driver was between turn 1 and turn 2. The driver slowed down significantly but he remained for the minimum period set by FIA ECU to the past Turn 8.
"The stewards realized that the driver was significantly slower than a normal round throughout the sequence. But when the VSC is imposed for security reasons, the trustees determined that the breach needed to be recognized.
"The stewards therefore impose a reprimand, which is consistent with similar cases during the sessions."
Leclerc may have feared a potential grid punishment that Vettel was hit with a three-place grid release to not adequately reduce under red flags in practice last year's US Grand Prix, while Esteban Ocon (Japanese Grand Prix) and Daniel Ricciardo (Australian Grand Prix) also took the same penalty in 2018. But with the incident taking place under a virtual security car instead of the red flag, the FIA trustees have confirmed a reprimand as a sufficient punishment for offenses.
Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix today is at 14:00 local time.