Vettel insists Leclerc challenge is good for Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF90 leads team mate Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF90.
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel says that the success of Charles Leclerc in his first outings at Ferrari in 2019 has been overall positive for the team.

Pundits had speculated that pressure from the 21-year-old Monegasque had been piling pressure on Vettel and forcing him into uncharacteristic mistakes in the first six races of 2019.

"Vettel needs to feel at home, to live in a relaxed atmosphere," former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger told La Gazzetta dello Sport. this week.

"[With Leclerc], he is suffering and cannot give 110 per cent, as happened when he was with [Daniel] Ricciardo, when he then left Red Bull."

Berger said that unlike Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton, Vettel lacked the 'super ego' to dominate a team and force it to shape itself around him to the exclusion of all others.

"Before leaving Mercedes, [Lewis] wants to match Schumacher with seven titles," he said. "He is the driver that most reminds me of Ayrton Senna.

"Seb is a hard worker like Schumacher, but compared to Michael he lacks the ability to direct the team, to ask for the hiring of key men," he said.

However, Vettel responded to the criticism by saying that the competition between two talented drivers at Ferrari was an advantage for the team - as well as for himself personally.

“I think it’s positive. We’re pushing each other,” he insisted.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari; Mattia Binotto (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal; Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari, on the grid.

"I think that’s a good situation for the team to have two drivers pushing the car to the limit and exploring the limitations. Trying to find out first of all what they are, and second how we can fix them."

Vettel pointed out that there was no reason why he should feel under any more pressure in 2019 than any other previous season when he also had talented team mates alongside him.

"I think in fairness and keeping the respect, I don’t think I’ve had easy teammates in the past," realling past pairings with Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

"I don’t think Kimi was slow!" he said, comparing the Finn with his current team mate. "Obviously they are different: different people first of all, different drivers, different style.

"I think it became apparent for good reasons that Charles is very talented and very fast," he added.

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