Ocon tips Leclerc for 2019 title challenge

Date published: October 24 2018

Esteban Ocon: I knew Charles Leclerc would beat Sebastian Vettel

Esteban Ocon believes Charles Leclerc can throw himself straight into the title battle when he joins Ferrari next season.

Leclerc will be making the huge step up to the Scuderia in 2019 with Kimi Raikkonen moving in the opposite direction back to Sauber.

And Ocon, who has raced alongside Leclerc for years on their way up the ranks to Formula 1, believes he has all the attributes to succeed straight away and give both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel something to worry about.

“I think Charles will challenge for the title in 2019. At least it wouldn’t be a surprise to me,” Ocon said.

“I know he has very good talent and is one of the quickest guys out there.

“I think both Charles- and Pierre [Gasly] will fight for wins and podiums in 2019.

“We’ve been fighting all the way through, to be honest, me Charles and Pierre. Me and Charles more than with Pierre, because Pierre started a bit later in karting.

“In the French championship I was winning and then I was fighting with Charles, and Charles was arriving and he was a rookie.

“[So] I know him pretty well. The first race we raced together was in 2005 in Mini Karts, we were seven or eight years old.

“All our career we’ve been fighting like this together. I know he has a very good talent from day one. He’s one of the quickest guys out there.

“I think he will show that next year, definitely.”

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