Leclerc doesn't expect No.1 status alongside 'fabulous' Sainz

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Charles Leclerc says he doesn't expect to become Ferrari's No.1 driver when Carlos Sainz arrives next year.

After Sebastian Vettel's exit was announced at the end of the year, many saw the decision to choose Sainz as Ferrari putting their weight behind the Monegasque to lead the team into the future.

However, commenting on his new teammate, Leclerc is expecting the Spaniard to be a tough opponent.

“I'm not going to be number one at Ferrari,” he told L’Equipe.

“I think Carlos is a fabulous driver, and if that's not yet obvious to people, he will prove it at Ferrari from 2021. It will be a terrific challenge for me.”

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Also backing Sainz is Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who admitted the only reason he never promoted the 25-year-old was because of one man.

“Why didn’t we take Sainz? Because we have Max [Verstappen],” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Our policy is to have the best driver with a good teammate.

"At the start, he was simply unlucky that Max came in at the same time, but I am convinced that Carlos will benefit Ferrari now.

“If Carlos wants to become a race winner, then he will have to learn how to overcome difficulties, such as the struggle with Charles Leclerc."

While positive about his new teammate though, Leclerc also paid tribute to Vettel and their year-long relationship so far.

“He taught me a lot," he said. "I can count myself lucky to have him as a stable companion because he is an extremely experienced pilot.”