Leclerc hype is "absolutely justified" - Vettel

Sebastian Vettel believes the hype around Ferrari protege and Formula 1 rookie Charles Leclerc is "absolutely justified", while Lewis Hamilton says he has the potential to do "great things".

Ferrari Driver Academy graduate Leclerc, who maintains close links to the Italian team, stepped up to F1 this year after back-to-back titles in GP3 and Formula 2.

After a tricky beginning to his rookie season Leclerc has scored points in two successive races, including a sixth-place finish in Azerbaijan.

Asked by Motorsport.com about their opinion of Leclerc, Vettel said "the hype is absolutely justified" while Lewis Hamilton said he has "the potential to do great things here".

"If there's no hype around him, then I don't understand who should be hyped," said Vettel.

"You walk through all the categories like that, then you belong here."

Vettel said he sees no reason Leclerc will not race for Ferrari in the future, adding: "The races he's had so far, he used his opportunities.

"He scored points with a car that doesn't belong in the points so he's doing everything he can at the moment."

Four-time world champion Hamilton said he watches the junior categories with his Mercedes team, and that included monitoring Leclerc's progress.

"What he's done in the last couple of years has been great to see," said Hamilton.

"Formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport, which it is, but it's supposed to have the best drivers from around the world and in all honesty, you couldn't say that there's the best drivers – the 100% best drivers – from all the nations around the world.

"So it's really great to see a really talented kid come through, that's really earned his way.

"He has the potential to do great things here and you can't say that about every kid that's come through in the past years.

"It's such an expensive sport, so you don't always have the most talented that have the money but it's great to see a real talented kid come through. I wish him all the best."

Both four-time world champions were also asked by Motorsport.com what advice they would give the 20-year-old, who was sat alongside them during the Wednesday press conference as they spoke.

"Just get on with it and just enjoy it," said Vettel.

"The cars that we're driving are the fastest cars in the world and that's what you should be looking for, not all the noise that sometimes happens around.

"It's important that you know why you want to be here and you look at what's really important to you.

"The rest is not that much of your concern."

Hamilton added: "The most important thing is to try and keep your feet on the ground, keep your family close and just enjoy the ride. Don't take it too seriously.

"Every experience ahead is going to be a learning curve, good or bad, but that's going to be a part of the making of who you are."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel , Charles Leclerc
Teams Sauber
Article type Breaking news