Lewis Hamilton says there is “more greatness to come” from Charles Leclerc, praising the Ferrari driver for outperforming four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel in only his second year in Formula 1.

Leclerc claimed his maiden grand prix victory on Sunday in Belgium after fending off Hamilton in the closing stages, giving Ferrari is first win of the year.

The result came after near-misses for Leclerc in Bahrain and Austria, and saw him move to within 12 points of Vettel in the drivers’ championship. Leclerc has also outqualified Vettel in each of the last six races, quickly becoming a close match for his teammate.

Asked about Leclerc’s start to life with Ferrari, Mercedes rival Hamilton praised the young Monegasque’s form, highlighting how he has started to beat Vettel regularly.

“I think his results speak for themselves really,” Hamilton said.

“It’s not easy for any driver to jump into a top team, let alone Ferrari, against a four-time world champion, in the sport with God knows how much more experience.

“To continuously from race one, out-perform, out-qualify and out-drive a four-time World Champion is not easy to do. So I think that speaks for itself.

“He’s been really unlucky in quite a few races this year. It could easily have been the third win today [at Spa]. So, there’s a lot more greatness to come from him and I’m looking forward to seeing his growth and racing alongside him.

“It was fun today, trying to chase him. He was just a little bit too quick.”

Leclerc was asked after the race if he believed he was ready to fight for world championships so early in his F1 career.

“I have the car and team for it. We obviously need to work because we are struggling a bit compared to Mercedes,” Leclerc said.

“But on my side, yes, I’ve got a lot to learn, that’s for sure, but I feel ready. You always need to feel ready, once you are in that position, otherwise I shouldn’t be in the seat that I am in today.”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...