Sebastian Vettel makes surprising comment about Charles Leclerc

Sebastian Vettel has retired from Formula 1 following the season finale in Abu Dhabi last season.

After winning four world championships over the course of his 16 years in the sport, Sebastian Vettel has called time on his Formula 1 career following the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The German has had spells with Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin during his time in Formula 1, meaning that he had worked with a number of teammates from all different backgrounds.

During his time with Ferrari Vettel found himself paired with both Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Leclerc, and it is the Monegasque driver that the German has said he identified most with his younger self.

The pair spent two years together with the Scuderia before Vettel moved to Aston Martin in 2021, and the German has revealed that it took him some time to adjust to working with a teammate as such a different stage of his career.

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“[Leclerc was] in a very different time in his career and in his life,” explained Vettel when discussing his time working with the Monegasque.

“And it was funny, because I watched him and we got along really well, I think. I really enjoyed the time we spent together.

“He taught me some things, not necessarily about driving, but it was a little bit as if I was looking at my younger self, and it did take a little bit of time to understand that.”

Mattia Binotto has recently labelled Vettel’s time with Ferrari a failure, as the German failed to unsettle the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari during his time with the Scuderia.

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Leclerc remains with Ferrari and is now partnered by 28-year-old Carlos Sainz, as the pair hunt to secure Ferrari’s first constructors’ championship since all the way back in 2008.

Reflecting on his time with Ferrari, Vettel has expressed his disappointment at being unable to replicate his Red Bull success with his new team.

“In ’17, we had a great car, and we fell short. ’18, we had a great car, [but] we fell short again, at the end. Just both years, we didn’t keep the development pace up, and we just fell back, so we got beaten,” explained the 35-year-old.

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“’19 was a bit of an odd year, because the start of the season wasn’t, let’s say – to me, at least – giving me [or] us the momentum to feel, ‘Alright, here we go again’.

“So then you start to think [about] what might have actually been the problem the last couple of years, and maybe there were too many thoughts. At the same time, Charles came in.”

Vettel has rejected claims that he could remain in Formula 1 as a reserve driver, but has refused to rule out a potential return to the grid in the future, admitting that he does not know exactly how he will feel after a couple of years without the adrenaline of the sport.