I am of two minds regarding the first season at Ferrari for Sophomore Charles Leclerc. Clearly a very talented young man and many suggest he’s going to give not only his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, a run for his money but is a title contender. That’s entirely possible but 5-time champ, Lewis Hamilton, says that’s unfair pressure to put on the youngster’s shoulders.
“It would be unfair to put that kind of expectation on his shoulders.
“It’s his second year, he’s young, he’s going to make mistakes.
“He’s obviously very quick, very talented, and hopefully, most likely, he’s going to surprise many, many people.
“[But] you’re talking about a veteran out there who is 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 multiple world champion and Charles has lots of experiences to go through.
“The great thing with a youngster is you’re energized beyond belief and determined.”
On one side, I think Lewis is right. IF the team or his fans are expecting him to be battling for the world championship, that may be a big ask for only his second season in F1. On the other hand, I seem to remember a young man entering the sport back in 2007 and nearly winning the title. Would have won it if not for a couple small niggles at McLaren. Yes, Lewis himself was a rookie who nearly won the title.
Lewis was teamed with Fernando Alonso so no matter how talented Vettel is, the scenario is very similar in my mind as the Alonso/ Hamilton and Vettel/Leclerc combinations are similar. Having said that, I think Lewis is right. Driving for Ferrari is already a pressure situation and being expected to win the title is putting a lot of burden on Leclerc.
The ’09 champ, Jenson Button, suggested that Vettel could leave Ferrari earlier than his 2020 contract expiration calls for if Leclerc does well. I’m not sure about that because I think Ferrari would be keen to have him around to coach Leclerc and Mick Schumacher.
It’s difficult to know but having watched F1 as long as I have and seen the pressure that comes with being a Ferrari driver, I have set no expectations for Leclerc. I think he’ll do just fine but my focus is on the Hamilton/Vettel battle. If that turns out to be Leclerc versus Hamilton, well so be it.
Hat Tip: Autosport