Vettel insists 'very quick' Leclerc good for him as Ferrari predict more drama

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Sebastian Vettel is adamant that having a strong teammate in Charles Leclerc is positive for him despite recent incidents.

The Ferrari pair arrived in Japan still as the talk of the town after their latest drama in Sochi, when Vettel ignored an instruction to allow the Monegasque through as part of a pre-arranged plan.

Their developing partnership has been one of the main stories of 2019 and the four-time world champion admits it is too soon to consider where Leclerc stands in his list of toughest teammates.

"I don’t think it’s fair, it’s been too short," Vettel said on Thursday. "Certainly he’s young, he’s very quick. I don’t think there’s anybody who doubts that.

"Ultimately you can’t really compare because you’d need to put Mark [Webber], Kimi [Raikkonen], Daniel [Ricciardo], Vitantonio [Liuzzi] and [Sebastien] Bourdais in the same car at the same time. So it’s not fair.

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"Certainly in terms of raw speed he’s very quick but obviously it’s a bit early for him, it’s only his second season in F1," he noted.

"It’s very different to say Kimi or Mark, who had spent a lot of time in F1 and had a lot more experience. I don’t look at it that way."

Instead, Vettel is simply enjoying having a driver alongside who can push him to the limit.

"It’s good that he’s a real reference, especially in the times when I struggled a little bit to really get the most out of myself and the car," Seb explained.

"Then it’s good to have that because it can also help you and as a team, it’s good to have two drivers fighting for the same ground on track.”

The incidents between Vettel and Leclerc have also proven a test for team boss Mattia Binotto in his first year in that role at Ferrari.

And while he says everything is being done to maintain harmony, he acknowledges more confrontation is almost guaranteed.

“We’re getting to know each other better and a deepening process," he told Sky Italia.

“Will it never happen again? I don’t believe it.

"There will be such situations, especially between two drivers so strong and competitive, but it will be important that there is transparency between us and the drivers.”