Vasseur: Leclerc '200 per cent' deserves his success at Ferrari

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Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur has paid tribute to Charles Leclerc saying he "200 per cent" deserves his 2019 success at Ferrari.

The Monegasque began his Formula 1 under the leadership of Vasseur at Sauber in 2018, with his performances earning him an immediate promotion to the Scuderia last season.

And reflecting on what he saw as Leclerc's main quality, the Frenchman pointed to something he claimed only "champions" have.

“I think it’s one of the characteristics of Charles, but mainly of champions, [to be] very, very self-confident in the car,” Vasseur said.

“They can sometimes be able to do things coming from the moon because they have a huge self-confidence.

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“This self-confidence allows them to have self-criticism, to blame themselves because they know perfectly that they have the potential, they are a champion and they can say ‘okay, I had a poor drive today.’

“It’s only a champion who is able to say something like this, on paper they are better than the others, but he’s able to blame himself – ‘OK, forget the session, I had a poor drive’.

“And it’s good for the team because when it’s not the case, they could bring you in the wrong direction.”

That was evident in how Leclerc responded to setbacks during his first season at Ferrari, such as when he crashed out of qualifying in Baku and the race at Hockenheim.

But after also claiming two wins and seven poles, the best of anyone, last year, his former boss is only proud.

“I’m pleased for him because he did a great season that could have been perhaps a bit better without Bahrain and other races, but he did a great job,” he added.

“He’s got incredible pace in qualifying, this is quite impressive. I’m more than happy for him because for me he deserves it 200%. He’s the only one that I keep an eye on.”