Leclerc could have challenged for F1 title if Ferrari had stronger car

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Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies believes Charles Leclerc would have challenged for this year's Formula 1 title had his car been stronger.

The impact made by the Monegasque at the Italian team has been felt almost throughout 2019 and two victories in Spa and Monza have really proven just what the former F2 champion is capable of.

In fact, such has been his progression, that Mekies admits he sees some similarities between Leclerc and the man whose position he is threatening at Ferrari.

"Charles has evolved a lot since the start of the season, and he's still evolving," Mekies told France's Auto-Hebdo.

'What's striking is that he's exploded in all the departments that make a driver, whether it's his feeling behind the wheel or the way he interacts with the team.

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"In terms of pure pace, we noted earlier this year that his progress was incremental, every two or three races on average.

"It was the same for his understanding of the car and what he required.

"He reminds me of Sebastian [Vettel] when he started with Toro Rosso. It's the same explosion."

That determination has been on show throughout the year, notably when Leclerc has made errors, particularly in Baku and Germany.

Yet what is also noticeable is the calmness that surrounds him.

"His mindset is one of his greatest strengths," Mekies continued. "All you need to do is listen to his radio communications to be convinced of this.

"Charles has great mental strength and a natural capacity to resist all sorts of pressures, but above all are his human qualities."

While setting high hopes for the future, the Ferrari chief admits his performances also put pressure on the team to give him the right car.

"There are no limits for Charles," he declared. "If we could have put him in a position to fight for the title this season, that's what he'd be doing."