Stroll ran into the side of Leclerc’s Ferrari in damp conditions at the opening corner after misjudging his braking point, leaving both cars with damage that forced them to retire.
The collision sent Leclerc into the path of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who was spun and left with bodywork damage that compromised the rest of his race en route to finishing 11th.
Stroll was hit with a five-place grid penalty for the next race at Spa for causing an avoidable accident.
But Leclerc was unhappy with the incident, saying that it was unrealistic for Stroll to have attempted the lunge as he did. Stroll did explain after the race that he made positioned his car trying to avoid contact.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, comes to a halt with damage
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“I know that sometimes small mistakes can have big consequences,” Leclerc said.
“I think though this time, it’s not really a small mistake. I couldn’t see Lance in my mirrors and he was five or six positions back so it was quite unrealistic for him to try anything there.
“But it’s life, it happens. Very frustrating. [I’ve been] quite unlucky on my side, this first part of the season, but it’s like this and will focus to to have a better second part of the season.”
Leclerc and Ricciardo had looked set to exit Turn 1 running second and third after a separate crash had seen a number of the other lead cars tangle.
Asked if he felt he could have won the race without the crash, having seen Esteban Ocon score a shock victory for Alpine, Leclerc replied: “ With the ‘if’, a lot of things would have been possible.
“Looking at other cars in front I feel like, if the pace was there, yes, I think the pace was there to challenge for a win.
“Obviously with a shunt in the first lap, it is very difficult to know where we will have gone from there.”
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto was equally frustrated by the accident, particularly after Leclerc had avoided the melee involving Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
“Charles had a good start, [he] was cautious to make sure to not damage the car, he was in a good position,” Binotto said.
“The first corner [had] almost already concluded, but the accident happened. I think somehow [it was] really a stupid accident. I don’t think such things should happen, but that’s the way it is.”