Ex-Ferrari test driver tips Charles Leclerc to beat Sebastian Vettel next year

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Big things are predicted for impressive Formula 1 prodigy Charles Leclerc, including that the latest addition to Scuderia Ferrari will run rings around veteran teammate Sebastian Vettel from the get-go in Australia next season.

Italian Raffaele Marciello, a former member of the Ferrari Driving Academy, is clearly no fan of the German driver, dismissing his slew of achievements in the sport by stating he considers his driving skills are inferior to the top names of the sport in recent years.

“I have never rated Vettel at the level of [Lewis} Hamilton, [Fernando} Alonso or even [Stefan] Kubica,” he said, per GP Fans.

"And I am convinced that when Charles arrives at Ferrari, he will be able to beat him right away. I think that if Ferrari does not win the world title this year, it will be Sebastian's responsibility.”

Leclerc, who has raced for Sauber in 2018, will become the second youngest racer to drive for Ferrari when the 2019 season opens Down Under. He turns 21 on October 16 and is 10 years younger than Vettel.

In sizing up Vettel’s four consecutive F1 crowns with Red Bull from 2010-13, Marciello attributed the crowns to the quality, or lack thereof, of his teammate and a superior car. 

"In the years of the Red Bull titles he had Mark Webber behind him, not a champion. And their car was much better than all the others.”

Marciello foresees a repeat of the teething troubles that Vettel had with teammate Daniel Ricciardo in 2014 when he teams up with the talented Leclerc.

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He said the young man from Monaco starting out his career was no comparison to Kimi Raikonnen, Vettel’s departing teammate who is 38, and spoke on his own experience in the team.

"The comparison with Raikkonen is not very reliable. When I drove during testing in Abu Dhabi in 2014, I was seven-tenths faster than Kimi, but those seven-tenths did not mean I was stronger than him,” he said.

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"Simply, I had a great desire to get on track and push to the limit, Kimi maybe has lost this type of motivation. A good comparison can be made using Fernando Alonso, who was always in front of Raikkonen.

"Sure, it is true that Vettel also beats Kimi, but not always and anyway the gap between them is less."

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