Leclerc: I don’t think Perez saw me, didn’t leave room

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc wearing a cooling vest. Saudi Arabia December 2021

Charles Leclerc admits he was “very lucky” to escape without serious damage when he was made contact with Sergio Perez at the first restart in Saudi Arabia.

Sunday’s race at the Jeddah Corniche circuit included two red flags, the second of which was caused by Leclerc and Perez.

On the restart following the stoppage for Mick Schumacher’s accident, Perez and Leclerc ran side-by-side through the exit of Turn 2 with the Red Bull slightly ahead as they raced towards Turn 3.

The two made contact, Leclerc clipping Perez’s rear tyre and sending the Red Bull driver into the wall. George Russell and Nikita Mazepin were caught up in the chaos.

“There just wasn’t enough room for everyone given how the corner was,” Perez said in the immediate aftermath.

“I ended up tangling with Charles, he clipped my rear tyre with his front right tyre. It was a bad moment for everyone but just a very unlucky one.”

In sharp contrast, Leclerc concedes he was “lucky” to get out of it having only lost a few positions.

“I was on the left and had not enough space, and I don’t think he saw me,” he told Sky Sports.

“I was very lucky to get out of it without big damage.”

The Ferrari driver raced his way to seventh place on the day, his team-mate Carlos Sainz eight.

But while Ferrari weren’t able to wrap up third place in the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren pulling back a single point, Ferrari go into the final race of the season 38.5 points up on their Woking rivals.

Speaking about his result, Leclerc declared that it was a “shame.

“In the first part, I thought the VSC was just perfect for us. We had started on mediums, VSC, go to the hard, go to the end – that’s it.

“Then three laps later, the red flag basically compromised a little bit our race, three places lost. And then through all the restarts I struggled massively with those hard tyres.

“So we lost positions at every restart, and then I tried to come back towards the end with those hard tyres, but it wasn’t enough.

“So seventh place, I’m not very happy with that. But overall, the pace was very positive.”

 

The Monégasque driver also revealed he did not enjoy the four laps behind the Virtual Safety Car at the 27-corner circuit.

The corners, coupled with the constant weaving to keep the tyres warm, left him feeling dizzy.

“The VSC of – I don’t know how many laps, for the debris – oh my god, this was horrible,” he said.

“As a driver just to turn left, right, left, right, left, right for 10 minutes, I was feeling honestly very dizzy in the car.”

 

Ferrari hanging on to P3

Ferrari are hanging on to P3 in the Constructors' Championship.