The Monégasque then made a late call to switch from soft tyres to intermediates given how swiftly the rain intensified on the opening lap, with his pit crew unprepared and left scrambling to make the change.
Although Leclerc lost precious seconds, the call appeared to be the right one given the amount of time lost for those who decided to remain on track for a second lap on slicks before pitting themselves.
Leclerc, however, proceeded to fall backward through the field as the race progressed, and despite a front-wing change, the 25-year-old was running a second per lap slower than team-mate Carlos Sainz.
After 41 of the 72 laps, a decision was made to end Leclerc's misery, his third retirement of the season.
“Already on the first lap, when we had the damage, I could feel much more than the guys were telling me on the radio,” remarked Leclerc.
“Initially, I was told it was five to 10 points (loss of downforce). We then realised it was more than 60, and more than 60 is a different category, so after that first lap, it was all uphill.”
Leclerc could have no complaints with Piastri given the circumstances of their early duel, adding: “We were in wet conditions with slicks, and it was such a slight touch but for some reason, it had huge consequences on my car. A shame.”
Asked by Speedcafe as to the point of continuing with the downforce loss so severe, he replied: “We were just waiting for some rain.
“With some rain, obviously 60 points less makes it very tricky to drive a car, but it also adds a lot of chaos, you can do something different than others, and maybe score one or two points. Every point counts, so we didn't want to give up too early.
“Then we understood the rain wouldn't come – even though it eventually did – but by then it would have been too late anyway.”
Following his complaints after qualifying about the lack of driveability from his car, and having “zero idea” as to what to expect from it with each occasion he took to the track, Sunday's retirement only added to Leclerc's woe.
Suggested to Leclerc it was arguably one of his worst weekends during his time with Ferrari, he said: “In terms of result, with a DNF like this, it's not good.
“It has been extremely difficult. In terms of balance, and driveability of the car, it has probably been the most difficult weekend of the season.
“We need to look into it because the last two, three races, we were getting better on that side of things, and for some reason, it worsened quite a lot this weekend.”
Leclerc can only now hope for a lift from the Tifosi for this coming weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
It is a circuit, however, that does not appear as if it will suit the SF-23, but as Leclerc rightly pointed out, that was a similar case for Spa-Francorchamps, only for him to finish third in the Belgian Grand Prix.
“On paper, it doesn't look like it will be any different, but at the same time Spa was very positive, and it didn't look like a track for us at all,” confirmed Leclerc.
“So I remain optimistic for Monza, and hopefully we'll have another good surprise.
“Monza is always special for us, and to feel the support. I'm looking forward to it because it's been a difficult season until now.
“On the other hand, I'm also really looking forward to having a car that will help us – Carlos and I – to be fighting for the top.
“Driveability has been the biggest problem for us. We need to look into it and hopefully, we'll have a better balance.”