Leclerc could force Vettel into a ‘tough decision’

Date published: January 29 2019

Charles Leclerc could force Sebastian Vettel into a 'tough decision'

Pressure is already mounting on Sebastian Vettel with Jenson Button saying he may be forced to consider his future if he loses to Charles Leclerc this year.

After a wretched 2018, a season in which Vettel holds his fair share of the blame for failing to win the World title, the German needs to bounce back.

That, though, may be easier said than done.

This year he has a new team-mate in Leclerc, a youngster that many believe is the future of Ferrari – and a future World Champion.

Their team battle promises to be one of the best as the old hand looks to hold of up-and-coming youngster.

However, should it end with Leclerc on top, like Daniel Ricciardo managed in his first season as Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate, the four-time World Champion may be left considering his future.

“It’s a very different atmosphere for Sebastian at Ferrari than it was at Red Bull,” Button told Sky Sports News.

“Maybe there’s more pressure. We’re going to see how he copes this year.

“It’s going to be a big year for Sebastian.

“When Daniel came into Red Bull he found it difficult.

“Daniel put him under a lot of pressure and actually outperformed him.

“I think if Charles can do that this year it’s a tough decision of where Sebastian is going to go for the future and what he’s going to do.”

And while Button reckons Vettel is an “unbelievably skilled driver and super-fast”, he acknowledges that “if your mind isn’t in the right place, then forget it.

“Charles seems such a happy-go-luck guy, really relaxed, and I think the team are really going to take to him.

“And that sometimes can hurt the other driver.”

The Brit is not the only former World Champion who feels the pressure is on Vettel.

2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg told Sky F1: “The pressure is on, absolutely.

“He was feeling it, I’m sure, already last year and especially driving for Ferrari that’s where the pressure is the highest because you’ve got the whole country on you.

“He’s feeling it, that’s clear. He just needs to put it together next year.

“He [Vettel] needs to improve and the team needs to improve overall.

“They just had too many mistakes last year because possibly they should have won it.”

Leclerc stepping in for Kimi Raikkonen is not the only change at Ferrari this year as the team recently bid farewell to Maurizio Arrivabene, promoting Mattia Binotto to team boss.

Rosberg added: “They’ve made some major changes. They’ve changed Arrivabene and put in Binotto, so they’ve made a change in the highest position there.

“Also with Sebastian’s new team-mate, Leclerc, that could also be a very, very positive dynamic, but it could also be negative and backfire!

“So it’s going to be awesome to watch.

“They just need to step it up, but they can do it. It’s going to be great to follow again.”

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