In the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix 2020, Leclerc collided with Vettel during the first lap. Why was Leclerc blamed for this collision in the press? It did not seem like it was intentional.
Leclerc not only was blamed, but accepted blame, for the incident, due to the fact that he acted aggressively and dangerously.
To set up, Leclerc was starting out behind after a penalty, and so he was in position to need to be aggressive to make up ground:
Just three races on from their controversial contact in Brazil, Leclerc and Vettel were drawn to each other again at Turn 3 at the Red Bull Ring, with Leclerc – looking to make up ground after being dropped even further down the order following a three-place grid drop - trying a lunge up the inside of his team mate as the tightly bunched packed rounded the right-hander.
During that aggressive move, he (unintentionally) collided with Vettel's car.
The Monegasque got alongside, but with space at a premium then slid into the side of Vettel’s car mid-apex, ripping off the German’s rear wing. Vettel retired at the end of the lap, while Leclerc took on a new front wing before parking up three laps later with severe damage to his floor.
After, Leclerc accepted blame for the incident:
“I apologised [to Vettel],” said Leclerc, taking full responsibility for a move he agreed was too optimistic. “Obviously excuses are not enough in times like this. I am just disappointed in myself. I’ve done a very bad job today. I let the team down."
Moves like this are generally considered dangerous and the aggressive driver's fault. Drivers should be careful to make passes that are not going to get themselves, or other cars, into trouble; it's part of what makes these drivers excellent - that they can make passes at high speeds in a safe manner, most of the time. If you and I were on the track, we'd definitely be crashing far, far more often, after all.