Seemingly running away with this year’s title, David Coulthard says Charles Leclerc’s current form makes him “shiver” as it reminds him of Michael Schumacher’s dominance.
Leclerc has emerged as the driver to beat this season, at least in the opening few races.
The Ferrari driver has two wins and a runner-up result to his name, as well as all three fastest lap points and two pole positions.
Scoring 71 points out of a maximum of 78, he already has a 34-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Such is Leclerc’s current form that Coulthard says it reminds him of when Schumacher dominated with Ferrari, the German kick-starting four of his five titles with the Scuderia with a run of three or more podiums.
“I had a little bit of a shiver actually, a flashback to when Michael was dominant in the Ferrari,” Coulthard told Channel 4, adding: “All my fears came back again!”
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Leclerc’s Australian Grand Prix saw him become the 26th driver in F1 history to secure a Grand Slam; pole position, race win and the fastest lap.
“We’ve got to acknowledge that he is a quality driver, a great human being,” Coulthard added.
“Ferrari has worked hard, and Mattia Binotto, what a cool character he’s been under all the pressure of the lack of performance over the last two years.
“That [Leclerc’s drive] was dominant. That really was an impressive display.”
But while Leclerc is the driver to beat, his team-mate Carlos Sainz is a man under pressure.
The Spaniard has yet to take a pole position this season nor has he won a grand prix with his Australian Grand Prix crash leaving him 38 points behind his team-mate.
“Look,” said Coulthard, “he knows he’s really got it wrong. He was driving angry, it was one mistake after another.
“He’s under pressure because the guy you’ve got to beat is the guy who’s got the winning car.
“It’s fine when you’re playing it out as team-mates in the mid-grid, it’s all for the greater good.
“But right now, his future, the dream of having a World Championship-winning car is in his hands, and his team-mate has picked it up and gone ‘This suits me like a glove’.”
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