Pérez and Leclerc found themselves battling for third place in the Italian Grand Prix after the restart after the safety car that caused the accident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
The Ferrari driver had been overtaken by Lando Norris for second place when the green flag returned on lap 31 and a lap later Pérez launched himself to overtake it at the Variante della Roggia, the second chicane on the Italian circuit.
The Mexican went for the outside line in the first part of the chicane to surround Leclerc, but ended up cutting the second part over the curbs to complete the overtaking and place third.
Pérez received no order from his team to restore Leclerc’s place, but was later given a five-second penalty that saw him drop from third to fifth in the final qualifier.
Once the race was over, “Checo” assured that if he did not cut the curve “we would have a 100 percent safe accident”, but Leclerc had a different opinion.
“I was surprised, because I got to Turn 4 knowing that he was on the outside and that he was trying to make a move,” said the Ferrari when asked if he expected Pérez to return the position.
“In fact, halfway through the corner I braked the car because I expected it to stay on the outside and overtake me. But then I saw it cut the track. And I had left a gap for it. So I was a bit confused. And I was quite I’m sure he would let me pass after that. But obviously he didn’t. So I think it was pretty clear (to the stewards). “
Despite this situation, Leclerc accepts that it would have been very difficult for him to hold so much Pérez like Valtteri Bottas, who later also overtook the Monegasque.
“They were very strong in the third sector, in turns 8, 9, 10 and 11. So yeah, we were quite vulnerable to overtaking, so it would have been very, very difficult,” he said.
“Then you never know, because our rhythm at the end of the day was very strong. Well, I mean, it was stronger than we thought, so yeah, you never know. But I think it would have been difficult,” he concluded.
Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov