Fer­rari new boy ‘must de­liver’

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport -

Fer­rari’s new young gun Charles Le­clerc has ad­mit­ted he has to de­liver straight away for Fer­rari in 2019 after se­cur­ing a dream move this week.

On Tues­day Fer­rari an­nounced Le­clerc would be mov­ing from Sauber, where he will be re­placed by Kimi Raikko­nen, who is go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion for the 2019 sea­son.

“I have had a very good sea­son this year . . . and next year I have to per­form in a big team,” Le­clerc told re­porters ahead of this week­end’s Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix.

“I still have to learn a lot of things but I will be a lot more ready than this year.”

The su­per-con­fi­dent Le­clerc thinks he might be able to chal­lenge Fer­rari No 1 Se­bas­tian Vet­tel for team supremacy in a sim­i­lar man­ner to Lewis Hamil­ton at McLaren in 2007.

Hamil­ton’s de­but sea­son saw him fin­ish ahead of team­mate Fer­nando Alonso only to lose out on the world ti­tle by one point, coin­ci­den­tally to Raikko­nen in a Fer­rari.

“Whether I’m ready or not, I can’t tell. But I think that if you see Lewis, he ar­rived the first year and straight away was there,” Le­clerc said.

Vet­tel backed the 20-yearold from Monaco to suc­ceed de­spite his ten­der years.

“If you’re fast enough, you’re old enough,” the Ger­man four­time world cham­pion said.

Le­clerc ad­mit­ted many had doubts over whether he was ready to step up. “And if next year I don’t have the re­sults good enough to stay in Fer­rari

. . . then I don’t de­serve a Fer­rari seat,” he said.

“I think I have a men­tal­ity which re­ally takes off all the pres­sure. I re­ally fo­cus on my­self and don’t re­ally think about what people ex­pect from me in the car.”

Fin­land’s Raikko­nen, cur­rently third in the driver’s cham­pi­onship, said he had found out only at the Ital­ian Grand Prix in Monza two weeks ago he would be mov­ing from the Marinello team.

But the last driver to win the world cham­pi­onship for Fer­rari added that he was de­lighted to be able to re­turn to Sauber, where he started his Formula One ca­reer in 2001.

“I don’t re­ally care what oth­ers think,” Raikko­nen said, hit­ting back at ob­servers who had ex­pected him to re­tire if he lost his prized seat at Fer­rari. “Why not [re­join Sauber]? “As long I’m happy with my own rea­sons, it’s enough for me. I al­ways said I will stop when I feel it’s right for me.”

‘I still have to learn a lot of things but I will be a lot more ready than this year’

Charles Le­clerc FORMULA ONE RACER

Pho­to­graph: LARS BARON/GETTY IM­AGES

ON THE MOVE: Charles Le­clerc of Monaco ahead of the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix

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