Charles Leclerc says he has only “respect” for Lewis Hamilton who he sees as one of the “greatest” F1 drivers of all time.
Hamilton has collected six World Championships in his illustrious career, contributing five of the six titles in Mercedes’ current record-breaking run of six Drivers’ and Constructors’ doubles in a row.
And just when hopes were rising that rival teams had found a way to close in on Mercedes, as we were starting to see at the end of 2019, the Silver Arrows went and designed arguably their strongest F1 car yet in the W11.
At the British Grand Prix Hamilton continued Mercedes’ dominance in qualifying, setting a time over one second faster than the nearest non-Mercedes driver, that being Max Verstappen.
And then in the race he was even able to claim victory on three wheels after a tyre failure on the last lap, keeping Mercedes’ 100% winning record in 2020 in-tact.
👎 “I’ve got to be brutally honest with you, I’m not his biggest fan.”
🤷♂️ “I don’t know what it is about him!”
😐 “I can’t take or leave watching him & listening to him.”
Ally McCoist says he respects Lewis Hamilton’s achievements in F1 but reveals he isn’t a fan of the Brit. pic.twitter.com/HX7RE8GqYj
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) August 3, 2020
Without doubt Mercedes’ ability to constantly keep their place at the top of Formula 1 is frustrating for all the other teams and drivers, and also for a section of the fans who crave a change from the Mercedes dominance.
But Leclerc said that both Mercedes and Hamilton deserve “respect” for their achievements.
“I think we cannot take anything away from Lewis, who I think is one of the greatest drivers in Formula One history and he’s doing a great job,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It is always very constant, always 100%, mentally very strong. So there is nothing to say: Mercedes, he, the combination of the two elements makes it really difficult to compete with them right now.”
Ferrari have been underwhelming so far in 2020, more commonly battling the midfield runners as opposed to their rivals Mercedes.
Leclerc took wins at Spa and Monza in his first season with Ferrari last year, also his first victories in F1, but in 2020 so far he has had to rely on a little bit of good fortune to make it onto the podium at the Austrian and British GPs.
So it comes as little surprise then that Leclerc isn’t anticipating any wins to come his way this year.
“Giving an exact time is very difficult. Now it is a very complex moment for the team, so it will take time. How much, now, I don’t know,” he admitted.
“But I think in 2022 there will be a significant change of rules and that will be a great opportunity to change things and we must work to change the situation in 2022, to open a new cycle of Ferrari successes “.