Lewis Hamilton says he’ll be an interested onlooker to see how Charles Leclerc performs in his maiden season at Ferrari alongside Sebastian Vettel as he sees similarities to his own Formula 1 arrival at McLaren alongside Fernando Alonso.

The reigning F1 world champion broke on to the scene as a rookie team-mate to back-to-back title-winner Alonso who joined McLaren from Renault in the same season. The pair endured a fierce rivalry, at times splitting the team internally, in a youth versus experience battle which ultimately saw the Spanish driver after just one year.

Hamilton has played down the expectations of Leclerc becoming an instant F1 world title challenger in his maiden year at Ferrari, after just a single season in the sport with Sauber, but he also sees similarities to his own rise through the ranks over a decade ago.

“The great thing with a youngster is that you’re energised beyond belief and determined, and you have more energy than the elders do, so as I say it’ll be interesting to watch,” Hamilton said about Leclerc joining Ferrari.

“I’ve been in that same position that they’re in at McLaren, so you’ve seen it in one realm, it’ll be interested to see it in that one.

“He’s obviously very quick, very talented, and most likely he is going to surprise many, many people. But you’re talking about a veteran out there now who’s a four-time world champion. There’s no substitute for experience, so it will be interesting to see how those two parallels work together. Sebastian is a multi-world champion, and Charles has a lot of experiences to go through.”

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Asked whether he thought Leclerc could instantly fight for the F1 world championship in his maiden campaign with Ferrari, Hamilton said: “Time will tell. I think it would be unfair to put that kind of expectation on his shoulders.

“It’s only his second year. He’s young, he’s going to make mistakes.”

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