Charles Leclerc has praised former Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel ahead of the Aston Martin driver’s return to action at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
Leclerc and Vettel spent two seasons together in 2019 and 2020, with the Monegasque outqualifying the four-time champion 25 times in 38 races.
Following a “dream” 2019 season that yielded 10 podiums, seven pole positions and two race wins, Leclerc was awarded a new contract until the end of 2024, bus his partnership with Vettel came to its conclusion at the end of 2020 when the German left for the Silverstone-based team.
Leclerc notes that Vettel is meticulous in his approach to the “analytical” side of the pinnacle of motorsport, and this attention to detail is something he absorbed from the 34-year-old.
“In this respect, I learned a lot from Seb,” he said, as quoted by F1-Insider.com, adding that this “made a big difference on the track in the end.”
Vettel’s work with the engineers and his vigilance of the minor aspects of the setup was “very interesting” for the 24-year-old to watch.
The former Red Bull and Ferrari driver became notorious last year for his ecological awareness, as well as his work to stand in solidarity with minorities who are being persecuted against, such as his LGBT alliance gesture in Hungary and his all-women karting event in Saudi Arabia.
As such, Leclerc finds himself “impressed by his humility”.
The Ferrari driver claimed victory in Bahrain after an enthralling battle with Max Verstappen, before being pipped to the post by the Dutchman a week later in Saudi Arabia.
He leads the world championship and, while satisfied with his performance thus far, he is aware that he will need to consistently be at the top of his game to beat Verstappen in a title fight.
“I’m very happy with the start to the season,” he added.
“What makes me happy is not really the performance, but that I know exactly what I still need to work on and what I need to improve in order to deliver more performance.”
Leclerc leads team-mate Carlos Sainz by 12 points in the Drivers’ Standings, while Ferrari are 40 points clear of Mercedes in the constructors’ battle.