Although Leclerc and Vettel had some famous clashes on the track, the pair did actually work well together during their two seasons as team-mates at Ferrari.
Reflecting on their partnership and what he would miss about Vettel, Leclerc has said that it was the German’s intelligent approach to the job that stood out for him.
Speaking exclusively to Autosport’s sister site Motorsport.com’s Italian edition, Leclerc was full of praise for Vettel’s attitude.
“Starting with his experience, in certain situations he had great analytical skills, and I think I learned a lot from Seb in this respect,” explained Leclerc.
“I realised that the importance he gave to some details in the end made a big difference on the track. It was very interesting for me to evaluate this. Then Seb is a very good person, who has always struck me for being so straightforward.”
Vettel has switched to Aston Martin for this year, and looks set to be battling for the same midfield positions as Leclerc in the 2021 season.
Asked how he would feel if he was overtaken by Vettel this year, in the wake of the way in which he beat him in 2020, Leclerc said: “I don’t think that if such a circumstance happens I’ll think: ‘Ah, he was my team-mate and I beat him and now he’s in front of me’.
“When I lower the visor, I have no room for these thoughts. I focus on myself, on the car and the commitment that awaits me.
“If Seb passes me then I will immediately try to take my position back. I don’t think I will have any other thoughts in my mind at that moment.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Vettel’s departure from Ferrari came with the Italian outfit aware that it would take several years for the team to get back to the front of the grid.
For Leclerc, who won two races and took seven pole positions during his maiden Ferrari season in 2019, the ability to bide his time is important.
“You must have patience, and it is a gift that I developed along the way,” he said. “Years ago in fact I did not have it, or I had little.
“When you get a delay caused by technical reasons, we know that in Formula 1 it takes time to be able to reset it. So during this time you have to be as calm as possible, also because getting angry and impatient is not constructive.
“I think I’ve matured from this point of view. But obviously I can’t wait to get back to winning races. The goal of a driver is always the same.”