Villeneuve: Hamilton at Ferrari in 2025 will ‘make or break’ Leclerc

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Jacques Villeneuve believes the arrival of Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari in 2025 will throw Charles Leclerc's career into a fascinating "make or break" scenario.

According to the Canadian, Leclerc, currently Ferrari's spearhead alongside Carlos Sainz, will face immense pressure to not only maintain his position within the team but also prove his talent against Hamilton.

While Leclerc boasts five impressive race wins, they pale in comparison to Hamilton's staggering 103 Grand Prix victories and seven world titles.

However, the Monegasque’s skills are undeniable, and potentially exceed what his statistics currently reflect. Next season’s partnership at the Scuderia is set to be one of the most captivating driver pairings on the F1 grid.

Villeneuve's comments were prompted by a question in an interview with website GPFans about the dynamic shift at Mercedes in 2025.

With George Russell stepping up as team leader, some see parallels to Leclerc's recent rise to dominance at Ferrari.

However, the pressure Leclerc will face with Hamilton as his teammate is likely to be on another level entirely.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. 07.04.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“No, Russell was never brought into Mercedes as ‘he’s a champion, he’s achieved it all’,” Villeneuve commented.

“He was brought into Mercedes as this young gun that still had to prove it.

“Charles was brought into Ferrari as a champion when he wasn’t because he was brought in from Sauber saying, ‘Well, he is a champion.’

“No, because he was beating someone in karting or whatever, that doesn’t pan out.”

There’s no denying Leclerc’s raw speed as his single-lap heroics in qualifying and 23 pole positions demonstrate.

Yet Villeneuve believes the Ferrari driver still needs to prove that he can transform his qualifying pace into sustained success on Sundays.

“He still has to prove it,” said the Canadian. “He’s shown a lot of speed, he’s shown that he’s super fast, but he’s not the one who won the race for Ferrari last year.

“So it will be interesting to see how that balances out inside Ferrari.

“This will be make or break for Charles, not for Lewis.”

Speaking recently to Radio France about Leclerc and Hamilton’s future collaboration, Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur is convinced the Briton’s presence on the other side of the Scuderia’s garage will benefit Leclerc.

“The arrival of Lewis Hamilton is important for the team,” Vasseur said.

“Beyond the speed, it brings serenity to the team, experience, a track record. An experience of victory, which we also need at Ferrari to move forward.

“I’m also super happy because I’m convinced that the two will get along well. It’s going to help Charles as a driver.

“It’s not just the performance in the car, in qualifying or the race. It’s also 365 days a year and on this, I think Lewis is an absolute master.”

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