David Coulthard believes Charles Leclerc could outperform Lewis Hamilton, especially in a single lap with equal machinery.
Lewis Hamilton – Ferrari: Formula 1 looks to 2025
While 2024 has yet to begin, Formula 1’s focus is already on 2025. Ferrari’s market move, securing Lewis Hamilton for the next year, has raised significant expectations, especially regarding the dynamics with Charles Leclerc.
Whether Sir Lewis’s presence will frustrate Leclerc’s desires and ambitions will unfold in 12 months. The close timing between Charles Leclerc’s contract extension and Lewis Hamilton’s announcement suggests that #16 was well aware of the seven-time champion’s arrival at the time of signing. Evidently, Charles Leclerc considers Hamilton the right ally to break Red Bull’s dominance while believing he can outpace #44 on the track. According to David Coulthard, the Monegasque driver will present the biggest challenge in Sir Lewis’s career.
The challenge with Charlea Leclerc
“It’s incredible for F1, but I have to say that Lewis will face his greatest challenge. Charles is a young and fast driver. He doesn’t have Lewis’s championships and experience, but I believe he will be a champion in the future. I think Charles is one of the fastest drivers on a single lap; he’s extraordinary in qualifying, and Lewis is an extraordinary race driver. But at 40, I don’t see him faster in a single lap. At that point, Charles will be in the prime of his strength,” commented the Scotsman on his podcast Formula for Success.
The “retirement plan”
“If Wolff underestimated something? I think Toto is an incredible operator. But even if you’re an excellent manager and, in his case, an owner and team principal, you can’t stop someone from leaving if they want to. There was a loophole created with the 1+1 formula. I assume Lewis was able to exercise the option to continue racing when he felt confident that Ferrari was offering something magical for the future. This is his ‘retirement plan’: he will conclude his career at Ferrari.”