Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel admitted that Formula One rookie and Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc, tipped as the four-times world champion’s future Ferrari team mate, deserves the hype. The Monegasque is making his home debut this weekend after scoring points in his last two races with Ferrari-powered Sauber, as the 20-year-old, who cantered to the Formula Two title last year, has been compared by some already to the likes of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
Asked to compare Charles Leclerc’s situation to what he had experienced as a 19-year-old in 2007, Sebastian Vettel did not hold back on praise: “I think I was never that hyped when I came in. I didn’t win GP2 and I think the hype is absolutely justified. If there’s no hype around him, then I don’t understand who should be hyped because you walk through all the categories like that, then you belong here.” – the German driver explained.
Sebastian Vettel, a winner at 21 with Toro Rosso before taking his titles with Red Bull, advised Charles Leclerc to ignore the media excitement, however: “I think the advice to him is not to listen, just get on with it and just enjoy it,” said the 30-year-old, last year’s winner in Monaco. The German said he was not the one who made the decisions but could not see why Leclerc might not eventually replace Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, whose contract expires at the end of the year but could be kept on for another season: “I think the races he’s had so far, he used his opportunities, he scored points with a car that doesn’t belong in the points so he’s doing everything he can at the moment.” – Sebastian added.
Regarding the next round of the 2018 Formula One season, the German driver said: “In Monaco the atmosphere is different and the setting so beautiful. The history here is great and we have the chance to be part of this history. It’s definitely a place to enjoy. Winning here means a lot to all of us; if you could chose a race to win on the calendar, you would pick the Monaco GP. This is a track where you need to trust your ability and your car. This is also a weekend in which we will have different compounds, using the Hypersofts and Ultrasofts. To be honest, I think the experience in Barcelona doesn’t matter for this weekend, because the track is so different. Certainly, everything we have learned from Barcelona and the testing session will be important. There are many things we are working on and a lot of things we can do better. The challenge is always there, so we need to stay focused and do our job. We have a strong car and a strong team and it’s up to us to put everything together. Time will tell”. – Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel concluded.