Vettel would welcome Leclerc: 'The hype is justified!'

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel would welcome Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in the future, insisting the Sauber rookie has the potential to race for the Scuderia.

Leclerc blitzed the opposition last season in Formula 2 before the House of Maranello promoted its junior driver to engine customer Sauber where the Monegasque has scored points in the last two races, displaying a particularly impressive form in Baku where he finished sixth.

As far as Vettel is concerned, the 20-year-old's potential would warrant a seat at the Scuderia.

"I'm not signing who's sitting next to me, probably you should ask Maurizio [Arrivabene, team boss], but I don't see why not," said Vettel in Thursday's media conference.

"I think the hype is absolutely justified.

"If there is no hype around him then I don't understand who can be hyped. If you walk through all the categories like that then you belong here.

"Obviously he has more years. The races he had so far, he used his opportunities and scored points with a car that doesn't belong in the points so he's doing everything he can at the moment."

Vettel's arch-rival and fellow quadruple world champion Lewis Hamilton, sitting among the drivers today, admits he's been similarly impressed by Leclerc's performance.

"I watched him coming through and what he's done in the last couple of years was great to see," said Hamilton.

"I sit with team bosses and engineers and we watch the lower categories and are always looking out for that shining talent to come through."

The Mercedes driver also underlined Leclerc's merits, insisting he deserved to be where he is based on his outstanding talent.

"Formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport, which it is, but it's supposed to have the best drivers from around the world," explained Hamilton.

"In all honesty you couldn't say there are the 100% best drivers from all the nations around the world here.

"It's just really great to see a really talented kid come through that's really just earned his way," he added.

"He really has the potential to do great things here and you can't see that about every kid that's come through in the past few years.

"Ultimately it's very difficult because it's such an expensive sport. You don't always have the most talented that have money, but it's great to see a really talented kid come through."

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