Vettel: Leclerc qualifying record 'needs to be appreciated'

© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel took his hat off to Charles Leclerc, praising his Ferrari teammate for his superior track record in qualifying this season, insisting the performance needed to be "appreciated".

In his second year in F1 and his first with the Scuderia, Leclerc has outqualified Vettel 10 races to 7, achieving seven pole positions overall against two for the German.

The bulk of Leclerc's outperformance has come since Spa, after the summer break, when the Monegasque clocked in fastest on four consecutive Saturday afternoons.

"First of all Charles has done a very good job in qualifying," commented Vettel, quoted by

"I don’t think it’s right sitting here and not mentioning that, so that needs to be appreciated."

Vettel believes his shortfall versus his Scuderia teammate was rooted in "different reasons".

"Things maybe didn’t come together the way I would have liked," he added.

"Here and there I think I missed out on qualifying for different reasons. But, overall, I can’t be happy with how qualifying was this year.

"Certainly, the goal is for the final races to make sure we have a good Saturday and not a good Sunday."

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari with team mate Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari in parc ferme

Leclerc's seven poles, and a potential to add two more in the final races of the season, could earn the 22-year-old and accolade as the fastest driver of the year on Saturday afternoons.

The Monegasque admits he called into question at one point his approach to qualifying's top-ten shootout, especially after his blunder in Baku.

"After I crashed in Q2 [in Baku] I was very, very disappointed and I changed a few things to just have a better build-up until the last Q3 lap and I think that has helped me a lot.

"I also just take confidence that the team is getting better and better. We are working in the same direction and I think at the moment it’s paying so it’s good to see that."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter