Charles Leclerc talks racing against Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen
Ferrari's young star joins the latest Sky F1 Vodcast and talks rivals, team-mates, life in lockdown in Monaco, and his Esports successes
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 24/04/20 10:49pm
Charles Leclerc has explained the differences racing against Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, as he appraised two of his biggest F1 rivals.
Appearing on the latest edition of the Sky F1 Vodcast, the Ferrari star compared and contrasted the wheel-to-wheel styles of the respective Red Bull and Mercedes drivers.
Asked by Paul Di Resta which of Verstappen and Hamilton he trusts more to race against, Leclerc replied: "If I want to be sure to finish the race, probably Lewis! But for the fun and the close racing probably Max, because I know it's always exciting to be fighting with Max.
"There's very little space given but I think that's what we all enjoy with the sport. Sometimes it's a bit over the limit, sometimes it's just on the limit, but I enjoy racing it in reality."
Turning to F1's six-time world champion, Leclerc praised Hamilton's measured approach to close combat.
"Lewis is a bit of a different driving [style]," continued Leclerc.
"He's extremely clever and I learn always so much when I fight with Lewis. He always knows exactly what you are going to do next with his experience, and that's what makes him so good on track with the battles.
"He's not very aggressive, always very correct, but always very good to anticipate what you are going to do."
Leclerc on Vettel: Will Seb stay for 2021?
After a stunning first year at Ferrari, when he won the first two grands prix of his career and finished as their lead driver in the championship, Leclerc's career is sharply in the ascendency and he was rewarded over the winter with a new five-year contract.
With the 22-year-old therefore signed up for the long term, Ferrari now have a decision to make on who is team-mate is beyond this year - with Sebastian Vettel's deal expiring in eight months' time.
Both Ferrari and Vettel have implied that they want to extend that relationship, but there is still inevitable and regular speculation over potential alternatives in the seat to the four-time world champion.
Leclerc says he gets on well with Vettel, despite several on-track flashpoints in 2019, and would be keen for him to stay, but that ultimately he will accept the team's call.
"The relationship with Seb is a lot better than people maybe think it is from looking from outside," insisted Leclerc.
"It's always been the same from the beginning to now and that's good. Even though we've had a few problems on track, every time we have spoken calmly and we came back stronger.
"After Brazil it was difficult but actually the race just after it was all fine again between us. So that is good and that's what I like with Seb.
"I would be very happy to keep him but again, as I've said, I will also respect if Ferrari is choosing to go for someone else."
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