Leclerc: Vettel on his good days 'incredibly difficult to beat'

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel suffered a few run-ins at Ferrari but overall, the pair enjoyed a good... The post Leclerc: Vettel on his good days 'incredibly difficult to beat' appeared first on F1i.com.

Leclerc: Vettel on his good days 'incredibly difficult to beat'

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel suffered a few run-ins at Ferrari but overall, the pair enjoyed a good relationship, and the Monegasque admits that his former teammate, on his day, was "incredibly difficult to beat".

Vettel's tenure with the Scuderia extended to six seasons, the last two of which were spent alongside Leclerc.

Although the German failed in his quest to bring the world title back to the House of Maranello, Vettel's track record with Ferrari nevertheless includes 14 wins with the Italian outfit.

In a recent Beyond the Grid podcast for Formula 1, Leclerc offered a comparison between Vettel and his current teammate Carlos Sainz and admitted that the former was a hard nut to crack.

"Seb, in his good days – I mean, the last year [in 2020] was more difficult for Seb, but in his good days, he was just incredible, and just incredibly difficult to beat, if not impossible," said Leclerc.

"And Carlos is just very, very consistent, so it's different approaches, but both of them were very, very strong.

“With Seb it was a little bit of a different relationship. I saw him a little bit more like an older brother.

"I mean, he had so much experience that it was different, it was not the same type of competition that I had with Seb than what I have with Carlos.

"With Carlos, we are more or less the same age, we are so competitive with everything. Seb had more experience, so he was a little bit… less competitive with everything.

"If I wanted to win something, he would basically a bit let me win this thing and I would be happy and he wouldn't care.

"Then once you put on the helmet, this whole relationship stops. You just think about the performance, you just think about trying to extract the maximum from the car, and especially, beat the guy who has the same car as yours."

As Ferrari - and the tifosi - transferred their infatuation from Vettel to Leclerc, signing up the Monegasque to a five-year deal while dismissing Vettel for 2021 even before the start of the 2020 season, a crumbling of the cordial relationship between the two drivers was expected.

But it never came to pass. In fact, Leclerc claims that despite the two drivers' past clashes – in Brazil in 2019 and in Austria in 2020 – and the media's need to fan the potential tensions, they always managed to maintain a good rapport.

  • Read also: A blend of history and reverence for Leclerc

"It wasn't that hard actually," said Leclerc. "I mean Brazil was probably the moment where it was quite difficult, but right after the race, only right after the race. Obviously with the heat of the moment, it's not easy.

"Then I think the thing that was more difficult to manage is how much the media are coming into play and… trying to make things exciting, and trying to make people think there were actually tensions when there weren't.

"We knew there weren't tensions, but we were also asked at every race we came to whether there was tension, and I think we managed it very well.

"In Austria, I think it was quite straightforward, because whenever I do a mistake, I'm just putting my hand up, and that's it.

"For Brazil, I had my opinion, he had his opinion, and we never really got the answer that we both wanted. So basically, it stayed like this. But we dealt with it very well and there were never any tensions."

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Alfa Romeo emerges as potential destination for Bottas

Valtteri Bottas could be racing for Alfa Romeo next season as George Russell's move to Mercedes for 2022... The post Alfa Romeo emerges as potential destination for Bottas appeared first on F1i.com.

Alfa Romeo emerges as potential destination for Bottas

Valtteri Bottas could be racing for Alfa Romeo next season as George Russell's move to Mercedes for 2022 appears more and more likely.

Mercedes' official stance on its future driver line-up is that it will decide its second seat alongside Lewis Hamilton during the summer break, with Bottas and Russell the only candidates being considered for the plum drive.

"We have to put our heads together in Brackley and discuss the matter with Mercedes in order to work out what our future driver pairing should look like," Wolff told Motorsport-total.

"We will come together over the summer, reach a decision then decide how we want to communicate this."

However, speaking to RTL during the British Grand Prix weekend, Wolff suggested that a decision had perhaps already been reached.

"We will see what decision we make – or have already made but not yet said. Unfortunately, I have no news, I still don’t know which direction it is going," said the Austrian who concluded his comment with a wink!

Should Bottas need to find himself a new employer for 2022, the most logical option would appear to be a straight swap with Russell between Mercedes and Williams.

But the Finn is rumored to have dismissed such a prospect, fearing it would leave him stranded at the bottom of the grid.

Discarding Williams would offer Bottas just one other solution: Alfa Romeo, a team managed by Fred Vasseur, a close friend of Wolff who, as a reminder, manages Bottas' interests through his partnership with driver manager Didier Coton and their company Aces Management.

According to Motorsport-total, initial discussions have already taken place between Bottas' management and Vasseur.

The Hinwil squad recently announced an extension of its association with Alfa Romeo. However, Vasseur will have a free rein to decide his driver line-up and the Frenchman has already suggested that he could proceed with a complete refresh for 2022.

  • Read also: Testy Raikkonen tells Alfa team to 'wake up'

It's likely that the Swiss outfit will retain a young talent – although Antonio Giovinazzi may no longer fit the bill. But Bottas could prove a worthy and useful recruit to replace 41-year-old Kimi Raikkonen.

Either driver's experience would come in handy next season when teams will field all-new cars designed around F1's new regulations, but Bottas, still being in his prime, would seem like a better option than the ageing Iceman, F1's senior citizen.

Regardless of who Mercedes chooses to place alongside Hamilton, the seven-time world champion will accept his employer's decision.

"Lewis is okay with both scenarios," said Wolff. "And he understands the pros and cons that speak for Valtteri and George.

"Lewis has never tried to influence the decision and he has no preference as to who should be in the car.

"He likes the relationship with Valtteri, and we know it too. But he never said that he would like this or that best."

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