'Learn from the best and enjoy it’– Leclerc’s advice to Russell on joining top team with world champion team mate
Charles Leclerc moved from midfield team Sauber to championship contenders Ferrari in 2019, joining as team mate to multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel. And with that experience under his belt, he had some sage advice for George Russell – who will move from Williams to Mercedes in 2022, alongside Lewis Hamilton.
Although they’re both 23-years-old, Leclerc moved to the juggernauts that are Ferrari two years ago – while Russell finally gets his chance to race full-time for the seven-time constructors’ championship-winning squad alongside Hamilton next season. And asked if he had any choice advice for Russell, Leclerc looked back on his move to Ferrari alongside Vettel in 2019.
“To George, I don’t have much to say,” began Leclerc, “he knows what he needs to do. It’s an amazing opportunity for him and he’s in a very good position too, because being like I was with Seb at the end, I had a multi-world champion next to me and, of course for us being young, it’s a great opportunity to show what you can do and learn from the best.
“So yes: just to enjoy his time there and not put too much pressure on himself,” was the Ferrari driver’s ultimate advice.
Four-time champion Vettel found himself with young hotshot Leclerc in the other side of the garage in 2019 that season, the German finishing 24 points behind Leclerc in the standings that year with one win (Singapore) to Leclerc’s brace of triumphs in Belgium and Italy.
And asked if he had any advice for Hamilton on how to deal with a new, young team mate, Vettel said: “I don’t know, Lewis is old enough, he doesn’t need much advice. Every situation is different as well; yes, I think if you get to race with a new team mate, you always get stuff you get to learn on both sides as well.
“It was like that when Charles joined the team and looking back I enjoyed [it], I’ve always been quite open and straightforward, and I learned a similar way of working from Charles as well so it was quite straightforward between us, which was nice,” said Vettel.
Vettel himself will stay with Aston Martin alongside Lance Stroll in 2022, while Williams have drafted up Red Bull-backed Alex Albon as Russell’s replacement next season.