Sebastian Vettel says his close battle with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari is “positive” for the team, allowing them to better push to the limitations of the SF90 car.

Vettel was joined by 21-year-old Leclerc at Ferrari for the 2019 season in place of Kimi Raikkonen, with the young Monegasque driver quickly proving to be a close match for his four-time world champion teammate.

Ferrari used team orders at four of the opening five races as a result of its drivers running close together on-track, including twice during the Spanish Grand Prix when it swapped Leclerc and Vettel back and forth.

Despite tension sometimes brewing over the use of team orders, Vettel said it was largely positive that Ferrari had two drivers so evenly-matched.

“I think it’s positive. We’re pushing each other,” Vettel said.

“But I think in fairness and keeping the respect, I don’t think I’ve had easy teammates in the past. I don’t think Kimi is slow. Obviously they are different: different people first of all, different drivers, different style.

“I think it became apparent for good reasons that Charles is very talented and very fast, so I think that’s a good situation for the team to have two drivers pushing the car to the limit and exploring the limitations, and trying to find out first of all what they are, and second how we can fix them.”