Although Leclerc and Vettel have had famous clashes on the track, the duo have actually performed well together during their two seasons as teammates at Ferrari.
Reflecting on their partnership and what he would miss about Vettel, Leclerc said it was the German’s smart approach to work that stood out.
Speaking exclusively to the Italian edition of Autosport’s sister site Motorsport.com, Leclerc was full of praise for Vettel’s attitude.
“From his experience, in certain situations, he had great analytical skills, and I think I learned a lot from Seb in this regard,” explained Leclerc.
“I realized that the importance he placed on certain details ultimately made a big difference on the track. It was very interesting for me to evaluate this. So Seb is a very good person, who always struck me for being so simple.
Vettel moved to Aston Martin for this year and is expected to fight for the same midfield positions as Leclerc in the 2021 season.
Asked how he would feel if he was passed by Vettel this year, following how he beat him in 2020, Leclerc said: “I don’t think that if such a circumstance occurs, I will think, ‘Ah, that was my teammate and I beat him and now he’s in front of me’.
“When I lower the visor, I don’t have room for these thoughts. I focus on myself, on the car and the commitment that awaits me.
“If Seb passes me, I will immediately try to take my place. I don’t think I’ll have any other thoughts on my mind then.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Vettel’s departure from Ferrari came with the Italian squad realizing that it would take the team several years to return to the top of the grid.
For Leclerc, who won two races and took seven pole positions in his debut Ferrari season in 2019, the ability to bide his time is important.
“You have to have patience, and it’s a gift that I developed along the way,” he said. “Years ago, in fact, I didn’t have it, or I didn’t have much.
“When you get a delay caused by technical reasons, we know that in Formula 1 it takes time to be able to reset it. So during this time you need to be as calm as possible, also because getting angry and impatient is not constructive.
“I think I have matured from that point of view. But obviously I can’t wait to get back to the winning races. The objective of a pilot is always the same. “