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2018 F1

Leclerc could beat Vettel at Ferrari – Marciello

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Charles Leclerc could emerge as Ferrari’s number 1 driver as quickly as 2019.

That is the view of racing driver Raffaele Marciello, a former member of Ferrari’s driver ‘academy’.

Today, 20-year-old Leclerc is Ferrari’s top academy member, and has received a promotion from Sauber to the top Maranello team for next year.

And Marciello thinks Sebastian Vettel could be in trouble.

“In the Red Bull years he (Vettel) had Mark Webber behind him but he (Webber) was not a champion and the car was better than all the others,” he told AS newspaper.

He also recalls Vettel’s final year at Red Bull, when Daniel Ricciardo was faster.

“A champion must always adapt rather than suffer from the pressure which is what we are seeing from Vettel today,” Marciello said.

“The comparison with Kimi is also not reliable, because when I did the Abu Dhabi test in 2014, I was seven tenths faster.

“I think maybe Kimi lost some motivation a few years ago.

“Personally I don’t think Vettel was ever on par with Hamilton, Alonso or even Kubica. I am convinced that when Leclerc is at Ferrari, he will immediately be able to beat Sebastian.”

However, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve says that while 2019 is a “great opportunity” for Leclerc, it is also a “risk” for Ferrari.

“Ferrari is the toughest team in psychological terms to drive for,” he told the Dutch magazine Formule 1.

“A driver there really feels the pressure. We saw it with Prost, Mansell and now even Vettel is suffering.”

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