George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have opened up about their own relationship when partnered together at Ferrari as the duo’s dynamic was likened to that of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at Mercedes.
Ferrari announced that Leclerc was to race alongside the four-time world champion in 2019 after the team confirmed its young driver would be promoted up from Sauber.
At the time it was viewed as a bold call from the Italian manufacturers after Leclerc had completed in just one season of Formula One, despite winning both GP3 and GP2 titles as a rookie.
However, the Moneqausque driver picked up two wins, seven pole positions and finished ahead of his team-mate Vettel in his debut season with Ferrari.
The 23-year-old, who came up through the motorsport ranks with Russell, offered advice to the Williams driver, who will be alongside a seven-time world champion in Hamilton at Mercedes from next season onwards.
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“He’s got a good opportunity like I was with Seb in the end,” began Leclerc.
“I had a multi-world champion next to me and of course us being young, it’s a great opportunity to show what you can do and learn from the best.
“So yeah, just enjoy to enjoy his time there and to not put too much pressure on himself.
“[He] was already very. very impressive back in karting, we were a team-mate when we were maybe 14, or 13, so quite young.
“There was Alex [Albon, who has just signed to race for Williams in 2022] also in the team, he was in the category just over us, but it was nice days.
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“I think he has always been very talented and in every condition, he would get in the kart and be quick.”
Vettel meanwhile, who left Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season after two years alongside Leclerc, was in a similar position as Hamilton finds himself, as the veteran of the team.
The 34-year-old, who was alongside Leclerc in the driver’s press conference ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, admitted he did learn from his team-mate in their short time together at Ferrari.
“Lewis I think is old enough, he doesn’t need much advise,” stated Vettel.
“Every situation is different as well, so I think if you get to race with a new team-mate you always have stuff you learn on both sides as well.
“It was like that when Charles joined the team, and looking back I enjoyed. I’ve always been quite open and straight forward and I’ve learned a similar way of work from Charles as well, so I think it was quite straightforward between us, which was nice.”
Hamilton trails Max Verstappen by three points ahead of the Italian Grand Prix after the Dutchman stormed to a lights to flag victory at Zandvoort.
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