Charles Leclerc believes it would be a "good sign" if he can give Ferrari the problem of having to manage its drivers early in the 2019 Formula 1 season as he prepares to race alongside Sebastian Vettel this year.

Ferrari F1 chief Mattia Binotto said earlier this month the team was likely to give four-time world champion Vettel priority towards the start of the year while Leclerc settles in at Ferrari, having moved from Sauber during the winter.

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However, Binotto added he hoped he would have the "problem" of having to manage two drivers high up the race order, believing it was an "opportunity" for Ferrari.

While Leclerc said he was hopeful of being a close match from Vettel straightaway, the Monegasque racer said he was chiefly focusing on his own preparations ahead of his second year racing in F1.

"I will be happy if I get used to this car as quickly as possible, and that I’m straight on-pace," Leclerc said.

"I’m realistic too - it’s only my second season in Formula 1. I have a lot to learn, and there is a long road ahead.

"But I can’t hide that I’m pushing to be as ready as possible for the first race, and if Mattia has the problem to manage two quick drivers, then it’s a good sign for me.

"But for now I’m just focusing on myself, trying to improve every lap I am doing in the car. It is a top team, and there are procedures that are quite different to the team I was in before.

"There is a bit of adaptation, but I will push to be as ready as possible for Australia."

Leclerc will head to the Australian Grand Prix bidding to become the fourth driver to win on his Ferrari debut, following Nigel Mansell, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso - although such expectations have not crossed the mind of the 21-year-old.

"I’m not really focusing on the result at the moment. As I’ve said in the past, so long as I’m focusing on myself and trying to do the best job possible in the car and out of the car, the results will come at some point, so I will focus fully on myself," Leclerc said.

"I don’t want to put in my head I want to win the first race, that is not what is in my head at the moment.

"I just want to grow as much as possible to the first race and be as comfortable in the team and in the car, and then the results will come."



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