"Intimidated" Leclerc was most talented driver Vettel saw

Jonathan Noble
·2-min read

The four-time world champion has competed alongside Leclerc at Ferrari since the start of last year, and saw first-hand how the Monegasque quickly adapted to a top-line team.

After swapping helmets on Sunday night in Abu Dhabi, Vettel made clear exactly what he thought of Leclerc in a special message.

On his helmet, he wrote: "To Charles. You are the most talented driver I came across in 15 years of F1. Don't waste it. But be sure whatever you do, to be happy and smile."

Leclerc said that while the pair had had their difficulties at times, he had learned a lot from the German after admitting he had been slightly intimidated at first about being his teammate.

"We've had very good moments on track, also others that were less good, but now we can probably say they are very good memories and funny memories to look back on," Leclerc told Vettel.

"But thanks for just being who you are. The way you welcomed me into the team, when I arrived. It was not easy. I mean, it's a huge team. I had you as a teammate, too.

"I think you know how intimidated I was to be next to a four-time world champion, when I arrived in Ferrari. And you welcomed me in the best way possible. I really, really enjoyed being your teammate for two years, and I just wish you the best for the future."

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Leclerc said that one of the best qualities that Vettel had was his ability to not let on-track incidents affect their relationship away from the circuit.

"I think he's one of the few drivers in the paddock that manage to do the difference between what's happened in the car and the person outside the car," he explained. "I think I am also one of them.

"That's makes it that the relationship was always good, even when sometimes on track it was difficult. I mean I've grown so much as a person thanks to him, having him next to me was also an example for me to follow. And I will remember these two years as a whole."