Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Paul Ricard, 2018

Hamilton and Vettel impressed by Leclerc

2018 French Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel praised Charles Leclerc’s qualifying performance after the Sauber driver reached Q3 at Paul Ricard.

Leclerc’s eighth place it the team’s best starting position since Felipe Nasr started from the same position at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

“I just saw before I went out that he was in the top ten going into Q3 which was very, very impressive to see,” said Hamilton.

“Particularly with the all the pressures you could see. There’s a lot of pressure for him, being here in the South of France, so really good. [I’m] really happy for him, particularly in that car, he’s doing a great job with what he has and probably delivering more, which is what you would hope from a good driver.”

Leclerc has been tipped as a future Ferrari driver, potentially as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen. Sebastian Vettel said he didn’t realise at first how far up Leclerc had qualified.

“I saw only on the screen that Fred Vasseur was pretty happy, so I thought one of his drivers did well in Q2. I didn’t see [him] in Q3 but obviously eighth is an impressive result.

“I think they are still quite a long way behind with the car so I think for him, he’s doing the job. It’s good for him and good for Sauber as well, to be up there. And hopefully for them they have some chance to score points tomorrow.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “Hamilton and Vettel impressed by Leclerc”

    1. This must be really hurting Haas management right now if you think that Ferrari were desperate to place Leclerc at Haas a year ago and they have chosen to stick with that uninspiring driver’s line up.

    2. I’m more and more impressed by the kid. Taking into account the difference in machinery, he’s the better of Verstappen in my humble opinion… I just hope Ferrari don’t number two him, though they obviously will.

      1. Not if he consistently outqualifies Vettel. That’s how to get out of number two status.

    3. Leclerc impressed me greatly in F2, he was in a class of his own, pretty much every single race.
      I’d love to see him become one of the greats.

    4. Well done Charles Leclerc!
      Can’t wait to see the hissy fits & tantrums once he becomes the official “No 2” at Ferrari.
      Then defies team orders & trounces Sebashem V, consistently!!!!

    5. I genuinely hope he goes to Ferrari for 2019. He can learn quite a bit from Vettel and be a Ferrari driver for the coming 10 years.

      1. @flatsix
        Don’t you think 2019 is too early for Charles ? Wouldn’t it be better if he goes to Haas first and spends a couple of seasons there ?
        I remember, many of us had similar feelings about Pascal when he came in (although he didnt qualify of finish so high up early in his career i guess)

        1. @webtel His talent is a requirement for me thinking about it, but his maturity is the tipping point. So, I definitely could be wrong here, but I’d take a chance on him if I was Ferrari.

    6. Kimi swap with Leclerc ASAP. Rest of the season in Red would have him ready for 2019 and he has shown the world last year he has skill but just needs adjusting time so adjust now. Ferrari need to bite the bullet with Kimi (sorry ice man )

    7. Leclerc is a Vettel-Hamilton-Alonso-level talent. You see guys like this come into the sport, and even without the aid the telemetry to demonstrate their ability, there’s still an intangible quality that makes them stand out from the crowd. Genuinely great drivers can seemingly go beyond the limits their machinery, and Leclerc’s performances this season have been quite staggering. Okay, he’s made a couple of errors, but he reminds me of a younger Vettel in that regard. Leclerc is throwing a Sauber–with relatively little downforce–around in a way that suggests it really shouldn’t be sticking to the road in the manner it is. The occasional spin here and there demonstrates how much he’s pushing the car to the limit, and his speed in relation to Ericsson further emphasises his class. Ferrari-bound for sure–no way is the Prancing Horse passing up a once-in-a-generation driver like him.

      1. The biggest difference is that these guys don’t need a season to learn the drill.
        They are ready from the go. A few races ago he made some mistakes and Ericsson got 2 points.

        Since then he is wrecking Ericsson in a way no other of his past mates have done before. And none of them had so little experience as he has. The guy is legit.

    8. YellowSubmarine
      24th June 2018, 3:02

      No way Vettel will allow Leclerc into the Kimi seat. That youngster has the potential to do to vettel what ricciardo did.

    9. Didn’t Leclerc get the memo that Sauber was a backmarker team?

    Comments are closed.