Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monza, 2020

Leclerc is “very fast at the moment” but Vettel can match him – Binotto

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is confident Sebastian Vettel can raise his performance to match team mate Charles Leclerc.

While Leclerc has only managed three points scores so far this year, one fewer than Vettel, all have been in considerably higher positions. Leclerc leads his team mate by 45 points to 16 in the championship.

However Binotto believes Vettel has the potential to get back on terms with Leclerc. “Charles is very fast at the moment and when you are comparing yourself to such a fast driver it is never easy, even if you are a four-time world champion,” he said.

“I think that Seb is struggling a bit with braking stability. He’s not too confident with the car and certainly it’s down to us to help him.

“We know that he can be very fast, we know that he can be as fast as Charles. But at the moment, if we look back at the last races, somehow sometimes yes, he drove well and he could drive as fast as he could, but sometimes it was not the case.

“There is nothing really specific. It’s really him to find the right confidence with the car all through the weekend, to have a great quali and possibly to start as much ahead as he can.”

With Vettel set to leave the team at the end of the season, Binotto is keen to see Leclerc develop as a leader within the team.

“I think that Charles is a great driver, no doubt, we all know that. He is a fantastic talent.

“He’s very fast, he’s capable of battling, protecting the position, overtaking and I think when he is on track he is certainly fantastic. I think there is nothing to prove or to demonstrate on that one.

“He is still very young and he still needs to get experience and he needs to develop as a man, as a person, as a leader, finally, for the team.

“If there is anything he is focused on at the moment it is really developing his leadership. Developing leadership means as well to help the team to progress and to get better results in the future and I think he is doing well in that respect.”

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Dieter Rencken
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38 comments on “Leclerc is “very fast at the moment” but Vettel can match him – Binotto”

  1. Unceremoniously Dumping Seb.
    Then coming out with this waffle.
    Just shows how out of touch Binnochio really is.

    1. @wildbiker They are really going all out on ensuring that seb hates them even more as the season progresses. Great leadership quality being exhibited by Mama Mia Binotto.

  2. Leclerc will be lucky not to have his value forever tarnished by this dry spell at Ferrari. Even when he was knocking out poles and wins as a newcomer, pundits still had him below people like Sainz, so it’s not hard to imagine what this will do for his standing. Vettel’s is virtually wiped out..

    1. @balue Well Leclerc was knocking out poles and then losing races. Managing to lose a race in the fastest car is not really an achievement.

      1. @f1osaurus He didn’t just, while comfortably leading the race, lose the car and crash into a barrier like his teammate though… although that same teammate did crash Leclerc out of a race!

        1. JC Agreed Vettel is even worse. Still, having a car advantage 7 times and winning only twice just is bad. Although granted, Bahrain wasn’t his fault.

      2. Except that Mercedes is the faster car from 2014 by miles…

        1. Even in 2017/18/19?

          1. Considering that Ferrari cheated…

        2. So Ferrari or Leclerc got all these poles while in the slowest car? That makes sense to you I guess BigJoe

    2. @balue will it necessarily be tarnished?

      So far, it seems that Leclerc is still behind held in a positive light as the perception is that he is getting unexpectedly strong results in an uncompetitive car – particularly the two podium finishes he has managed to score this season. Leclerc was still often one of the highest rated drivers in 2019, usually being found in the top four or five drivers amongst most pundits – and, since you mention Sainz, if anything there seemed to be a reaction from the fan base that felt that Sainz was being given too high a rating in 2019.

      1. Indeed, that’s the impression I get, alonso-like performance, driving an uncompetitive car into places it shouldn’t be when the opportunity comes.

    3. @balue What pundits? Most that I’ve read (F1 journalists, former racers and managers etc.) rate Leclerc very highly, easily above Sainz. Peter Windsor, for instance, and this site too if I remember right. He’s quick, as shown by being a lot faster than a Vettel who was a lot faster than Raikkonen, and is capable of being smart and level-headed in races, as shown by some of his performances this year in that Ferrari. He can also adapt to issues in the car very well. Personally I don’t think he’s Verstappen or Hamilton level (Leclerc has been nondescript in wet weather), but next tier down, maybe, say Ricciardo, with whom he shares some traits. I doubt being at Ferrari will be bad for him, unless Sainz proves faster than him next year. Unlikely. And Ferrari drivers are assured attention, which is a prime commodity.

      1. @david-br This site here for example.

  3. @f1osaurus Ah yes, I must simply have forgot that Ferrari was the fastest car last year and it was just Hamilton’s skill that made the difference in the races. Silly me.

    1. It should be fairly clear to everyone now that Ferrari did have the fastest engine from 2017 to mid-late 2019, and why, and
      that made them the fastest car at various tracks, at least half. The difference between Mercedes and Ferrari was indeed Hamilton, also very clear in the consistency he has shown over that period, when not brilliance, while the other three contenders (Leclerc, Vettel and Bottas) have been inconsistent when not error prone and putting themselves out of any contention. The only driver to have become as consistent as Hamilton is Verstappen. Reflected in his P3 for the season last year, and P2 currently this, despite having only the third quickest car for a lot of the time.

      1. @david-br The only thing that’s clear to everyone apart from your blatant bias, is that the Ferrari engine ‘mischievousness’ made them especially good in qualifying. It’s also common knowledge that dropping back from a qualifying position in races doesn’t necessarily denote poor racecraft as it could just as well speak of exceptional one lap speed and qualifying abilities.

      2. Absolutely not, mercedes still had the fastest engine in 2017, you can see a clear comparison at spa, 2017 vettel got hamilton’s slipstream, but didn’t manage to pass him at kemmel, 2018 he passed him at raidillion, so way earlier than normally happens, a clear sign ferrari’s engine became better in 2018, and was so till 2019, then they had to change stuff and went backwards.

    2. @balue Yes you must have forgotten that Ferrari had something like half a second on Mercedes in Bahrain. So leclerc couldn’t help not winning that one, but then Vettel should have.

      Leclerc got 7 poles. You forgot that for getting pole you need to be fastest?

      So he was fastest 7 times, yet he won only 2 of those races. How is that a great achievement?

      Can’t you at least think for a few seconds before you rant nonsense?

  4. I have a feeling that Binotto has made himself irreplaceable in the sense that no one wants his position. He would have been fired before the start of the season if Ferrari could line up a replacement but even they realize that it’d be too painful to put anyone through this and a guaranteed career ending assignment.

  5. At this rate of progress they will soon be fighting for 19th place

  6. 2014 at RedBull – Ricciardo beats Vettel comfortably. “Car didn’t suit Vettel. He has no confidence in the car.”
    2015 at Ferrari – Welcome Seb. Take your seat and show Alonso how it’s done!
    2016 at Ferrari – Chassis went backwards
    2017 at Ferrari – Road rage banging wheels with Hamilton.
    2018 at Ferrari – Germany under rain just to name one. Wasted best chance of title. Kimi shows how it’s done at Monza.
    2019 at Ferrari – Spinning fest. Leclerc shows how it’s done. And gets taken out by Vettel much like he did to Webber at RBR.
    2020 at Ferrari – Comfortably beaten by Leclerc. “Car didn’t suit…”

    Clear pattern?

    1. With the exception of Baku 2017 was a great chance ruined by poor reliability.
      2nd half of 2018 was dreadful, utterly wasted opportunity for a title that should have been his.

      1. 100% agree. Even though the last third of 2018 wasn’t fantastic car performance wise, it could/would have sufficed for the title, had Seb not made his mistakes. Overall the Ferrari was the best car that season in my opinion.

        2017 was generally a very good season from his side, apart from his personal low point of Baku and also Singapore. I don’t put the blame on him for the accident, but with the title fight still very much on at that moment, he could have been less aggressive, squeezing Kimi.

        1. Not to mention the 2018 car was pretty good, then had an involution right after vettel’s big mistakes, imo that is ferrari trying to improve a car that was good enough and it backfiring, so I have no doubt a competent driver would’ve won 2018.

      2. Baku 2017 was a great chance ruined by poor reliability

        And Raikkonen just driving for himself, as usual, at Singapore etc. Plus the start of Vettel’s spinning habit.

        1. Reliability at baku?

          1. Ah, damn, this partial quote confused me, 2017 was indeed poor in reliability, the quote made me think this was about baku.

    2. Ssshhh @onlyfacts! It’s always ‘toxic environment’ and ‘Merc dominance’ that made Vettel lose the potential WDC. Please take your data-based observations and patterns elsewhere. Thank you!

    3. Really? So what happened prior to 2014? “Car doesn’t suit Webber? He has no confidence in the car for 4 straight years?” When Vettel was winning, its always because of either Newey / he has the best car / the team is sabotaging his teammate. When Lewis is winning, he is the GOAT. Go figure…

    4. Raikkonen also won at austin, other than the monza’s near miss, he really showed vettel how to put in a basic performance, while no longer being like 2005.

    5. The fact you highlight Vettel’s bad seasons and gloss over his best ones just shows where your comment is in objectivity. And you actually ignored pre-2014 because obviously that wouldn’t fit in?

  7. Build a car, not a pig.
    Send back Pinocchio to the engine but learn him not to cheat.
    Get in some leader.
    Respect Seb.
    Or quit!

  8. @balue everyone I know rates Leclerc in the top 3 of the current grid (together with Hamilton and Verstappen). He’s destroying a 4 times world champ, what more can you ask for?

    1. @paeschli It seems obvious, but he was still rated behind Sainz here last year. Then imagine what will be said after 2-3 years of hardly making Q3.

      At least the Leclerc-Sainz question will be settled once and for all if nothing else.

  9. @balue lol what planet are you on thinking people were saying Sainz was in higher regard than Leclerc. Man lost to Hulk lost to Norris and will lose to Leclerc aswell, i am talking about qually btw. I seem to recall he favourd well vs Max in qually. Sainz aint even good losing to Norris 2 yrs in a row in qually where you show raw pace is not a good luck. Whilst Lec won the pole trophy last yr his 4x WC teammate was struggling to get on the front row with him. Sainz has never been rated higher than Lec like ever lol.

    1. This site did, for one:
      https://www.racefans.net/2019/12/23/2019-f1-driver-rankings-3-sainz-jnr/
      https://www.racefans.net/2019/12/23/2019-f1-driver-rankings-4-leclerc/
      Obviously wrong IMO, but if the media can have this bad impression of Leclerc even when he’s blasting in his first year at a top team, imagine what it will do to his reputation to be in the midfield for years, is my point.

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