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Sergio Perez

Perez felt ‘lucky' to avoid damage during Leclerc battle

Sergio Perez was made work for his second place as he was engaged in several close battles during the Italian GP

Perez Italy
To news overview © XPBimages

Sergio Perez has said he was lucky to avoid picking up damage during his battle with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the Italian Grand Prix.

Perez ended the race in second place, securing his third podium in four races after climbing from fifth on the Monza grid.

The Red Bull driver spent much of the first half of the race in the mirrors of George Russell, unable to get close enough to pull off a move as the Mercedes defended hard.

"First [I had to] get through George, which wasn't very easy," Perez told media including RacingNews365.

"I had to take the escape road into Turn 2 a few times. Once I managed to clear him, the team told me to box but at the same lap.

"Carlos [Sainz] boxed, so I decided to stay out, thinking that we could extend a little bit more, to build a little bit more of a tyre delta.

"But then we were at risk of [being] undercut to George and we ended up behind the Ferraris."

Luck to avoid damage

Perez followed the Ferrari duo for several laps as he aimed to dispatch Leclerc, who was running in third place after the pit-stop phase.

However, Leclerc was able to use the slipstream from teammate Carlos Sainz and his DRS to stay ahead of Perez.

But on Lap 31, Perez launched an attack on the Monegasque driver, but was squeezed at the second chicane, kicking up some dirt as the car dipped onto the grass on the outside.

"Once Charles had the DRS from Carlos, it was very hard to put him under pressure," Perez reflected.

"He lost the DRS from Carlos and that really made my race. When I was able to pass I had some contact, I think into Turn 4, I had no space, and we ended up touching.

"Luckily there was no damage for any of us."

Perez was then engaged in a close fight with Sainz for second, and managed to get past the Spaniard to score another Red Bull 1-2.

"With Carlos as well, it was another very tight fight but that’s expected for those positions," he added.

F1 2023 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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