F1: Sebastian Vettel describes Charles Leclerc as 'full rival'
Ferrari's established driver "looking forward" to challenge of racing against Charles Leclerc and expects to be put under "pressure"
By James Galloway at Barcelona
Last Updated: 21/02/19 6:03pm
Sebastian Vettel is expecting new team-mate Charles Leclerc to be a "full rival" to him at Ferrari in F1 2019.
After spending his first four years at Maranello alongside Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel is paired with one of the sport's young rising stars and expectations are high that the intra-team battle for supremacy will prove one of the season's big talking points.
Vettel, who has been Ferrari's sole title challenger to Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton over the past two seasons, is tipping Leclerc to "put me under pressure".
Asked how he viewed Leclerc, Vettel said: "A full rival.
"He's in the seat for a reason so I've got to take it very serious. You always have a close rivalry with your team-mate, but priority number one is to bring the team forward.
"Obviously I've been around a bit longer than he has so maybe there are different things he will have on his plate in the beginning but he's a nice kid and I hope, in a positive way, you leave him alone to do his job.
"I'm very certain he will be quick enough and put me under pressure. We'll see how it goes."
Vettel and Raikkonen enjoyed a harmonious relationship, with each describing the other as their best team-mate in F1, but the four-time champion is not expecting friction with the Finn's 21-year-old replacement.
"I don't know him as a team-mate yet, everybody is different, but I'm not overcomplicating these things, I'm taking it quite straightforward," he said.
"I'm not the one starting any problems and I don't expect that Charles is starting any problems.
"I'm actually looking forward to it. It's very exciting for him to drive the car of his dreams, I can understand that. Even though I've been around longer I still a little bit the same."
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