Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel joked on Thursday that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s good looks mean he gets more attention at the Italian Grand Prix than the four-time champion did while driving for the Scuderia.
Vettel and Leclerc shared two Italian Grand Prix with Ferrari, the second of which featured very little home support due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The German stood on the podium three times in red, gaining a huge ovation each time from the Tifosi, but it was Leclerc that got the Italian team’s first win at home in nine years when he beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to victory in 2019.
That was the Monegasque’s first taste of the expectation on Ferrari drivers’ shoulders when they race at Monza, and he and Carlos Sainz have been embraced by the Ferrari faithful this week too.
They went to the Ferrari shop in Milan to pose for pictures with the special yellow helmets and yellow tinted livery the Maranello-based side will be using this weekend.
That is in celebration of 75 years of grand prix racing, and the yellow represents the hometown of the team’s founder, the late Enzo Ferrari.
Leclerc said in the Thursday press conference that he struggles to leave his hotel for the track at times due to the outpouring of support he receives from the excited Tifosi.
“For me it’s pure pleasure driving here for Ferrari, of course you feel the expectations,” he explained.
“As I was saying, even when we were at the event in Milan, you see that everybody in the city is behind us, they are always supporting us, it’s incredible.
“Even coming to the track can be difficult because there are so many fans outside our hotel to cheer for us.”
Vettel quipped that he never got the fanfare coming out of his hotel ahead of Ferrari’s home race.
“I never had the problem of going out my hotel, probably Charles is more good looking than me,” said the German.
Leclerc took his first-ever single seater victory in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Series at Monza, so Ferrari’s home track is a one that the Monegasque enjoys.
“I think the first time I came to Monza was 2014, which was also my first race win in a single-seater category, this is why Monza is very special to me on a personal level,” added the 24-year-old.
Ferrari have won 19 races at Monza since the first Italian Grand Prix was held there in 1950.