Vettel not Ferrari's number two driver - Montezemolo

Sebastian Vettel should not be written off as a "number two" driver and has all it takes to bounce back in Formula 1, says former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Vettel not Ferrari's number two driver - Montezemolo

Although Vettel has not won a race for more than 12 months now, with teammate Charles Leclerc having delivered his maiden victory in Belgium last weekend, di Montezemolo is convinced the German has what it takes to return to his very best.

Reflecting on the Spa success, di Montezemolo says the role Vettel played in assisting Leclerc's triumph should not be underestimated.

"Sebastian was crucial for the victory," said di Montezemolo during a Ferrari celebratory event in Milan on Wednesday night.

"I think without Sebastian it was very difficult for Leclerc to win the race, very difficult, because Sebastian was able to hold back [Lewis] Hamilton for a few laps.

"Sebastian is for me still very, very good. I think the pair [of drivers] is very good. In the normal life, you have some moments with some difficulties.

"But I am sure he has all the characteristics to come back. I hope very soon, and I hope in a few days."

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Asked if he felt that Leclerc had emerged as team leader and Vettel was now a number two, di Montezemolo responded: "Vettel is not a number two. Vettel is a number one and Leclerc is in the process to be a number one, so it is good to have two number ones."

Leclerc compared to Lauda

Di Montezemolo also said that Leclerc's attitude, and especially the way that he responded to the few mistakes he has made, reminded him of a young Niki Lauda.

"I think that Charles, even last year, was able with a not very competitive car to be quick without making mistakes," added di Montezemolo, who famously helped guide Lauda to his first Ferrari world titles.

"With Ferrari of course it is different, but he made very few mistakes.

"And like Niki at the beginning, he was only conscious why he made the mistake and [how] not to repeat it. So I think this is a very intelligent driver, very quick. Not only on one lap but also in the race, as you see.

"I think he can be maybe be the best representative of a new generation of drivers, which is very important for F1."

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

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