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F1: Vettel Calls Leclerc The Most Talented Driver He Has Seen In 15 Years

In response to Vettel's heartfelt message, Leclerc also posted a tribute. He shared a photo of him exchanging helmets with Vettel

Vettel and Leclerc exchanged helmets as a mark of respect expand View Photos
Vettel and Leclerc exchanged helmets as a mark of respect

Highlights

  • Vettel called his 23-year-old the best driver he had seen in F1
  • Leclerc also posted a tribute for Vettel who he described as a top man
  • Vettel's exit from Ferrari was perpetuated by the rise of Leclerc

As Sebastian Vettel departs Ferrari, a team he grew up driving for, in a bid to emulate his idol Michael Schumacher, the German reflected on his tenure at the iconic team. While departing, he also noted that his teammate for the last two years  - Charles Leclerc - was the most talented driver he had come across in the last 15 years.

"To Charles, you are the most talented driver I came across in 15 years of F1. Don't waste it. But be sure whatever you do to be happy and smile. Thanks for everything!" wrote the four-time world champion on the helmet he gifted to his younger teammate.

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Many believe the rise of Charles Leclerc as one of the main reasons why Ferrari chose not to renew Vettel's contract. Vettel also contributed to his demise at the Scuderia with him making many mistakes in 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons when Ferrari had a car to challenge the Mercedes. The failure to capitalise on the mistakes has been cited as one of the reasons.

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Leclerc finished the last race of 2020 ahead of Vettel in Abu Dhabi

For Vettel, this 6-year stint at the Italian team has turned into a failure. He does note that a series of issues -- which included the change of multiple CEOs, team principles and also the loss of James Allison (the former technical director) to Mercedes contributed to the challenges.

In response to Vettel's heartfelt message, Leclerc also posted a tribute. He shared a photo of him exchanging helmets with Vettel and wrote," "I learnt so much from you as a person and as a driver in these last two years together. Thanks for pushing me to improve all the time, it's been an honour (sic) to be your teammate, and I honestly wish you the very best. Top driver and a Top Man."

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Vettel now joins the rebranded Racing Point team which morphs into Aston Martin, going Lance Stroll and replacing Sergio Perez. Many expect the new Aston Martin team to be the third or second fastest team on the grid in 2021.

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