Charles Leclerc is in agreement with Max Verstappen that Lewis Hamilton can be beaten over the course of the coming F1 season. Leclerc goes into the new campaign off the back of a winter in which Ferrari unofficially made him their No 1 driver by handing him a long-term contract while Sebastian Vettel was made to wait on tying up his future.
Much is expected of the former Sauber ace, with F1 insiders and fans alike expecting him to one day get his hands on the World Drivers’ Championship title.
Leclerc faces stern competition from Mercedes’ reigning champion Hamilton, though, while Red Bull’s Verstappen looks set to be in the title race following a strong showing in pre-season testing.
Verstappen – who also signed a new deal over the winter – recently hailed Hamilton as “very good”, but highlighted his fallibility by saying “he is not God.”
Verstappen’s comments have now been put to Leclerc and the Monegasque has backed up his pit-lane rival’s comments on Hamilton, suggesting he’s ready to take the title fight to the six-time F1 champion.
“Max is right, nobody is invulnerable,” Leclerc told Italian outlet Quotidiano Nazionale. “Not even Lewis, who is obviously a great champion.”
Leclerc is humble enough to admit, however, that there are areas where Hamilton is the superior driver.
Asked if he envies Hamilton, Leclerc said: “He is certainly much more experienced, he has been in Formula One since 2007, I have only been from 2018.
“Hamilton is more complete than I am. For example, I must learn to manage the tires better in the race. Lewis is a phenomenon in this.”
Leclerc and Verstappen will look to compete with Hamilton from the off when the 2020 F1 season gets underway with the Australian Grand Prix in a couple of weeks.
Max Verstappen takes swipe at Daniel Ricciardo
Lewis Hamilton warned over new contract
Sebastian Vettel gives Charles Leclerc verdict
- Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff make same Mercedes blunder on new series
Verstappen laid out his determination to battle the Brit last month as he admitted his challenge will be impacted by the quality of the car Red Bull are able to provide for him.
“Of course, it is very car-dependent in Formula 1,” Verstappen said. “Lewis is very good. He is definitely one of the best out there. He is not God, maybe God is with him, but he is not God.
“When you can put the pressure on it is a lot harder for the guy in the lead. If he never really has pressure, he can drive at 97 or 98 per cent and then you never make mistakes.
“If we start the season within two tenths [of Mercedes], we can mount the pressure. I am looking forward to when we get that fight and if we are really close I am pretty sure we can do better.”
Source: Read Full Article