Sebastian Vettel, who is now only three races away from finishing his 6-year-stint at Ferrari before moving to Aston Martin from 2021 onwards, was able to score a podium for the team from Maranello during the Turkish GP these past weekend, definitely a bitter-sweet farewell to the team. The four-time world champion was able to get on the podium thanks to a mistake by his teammate Leclerc who dropped from P2 to P4 in the final moments of the race, a mistake after which Leclerc was definitely beating himself about.
But, despite the error, Vettel encouraged his teammate to look at the bigger picture beyond the potential podium, something that the German has already done before, backing the young driver to achieve plenty of success in the near future. Leclerc is often compared with Verstappen, another bright star on the grid and vice versa, but Vettel personally believes there’s more in store for Leclerc than there is for Verstappen.
As he said during an interview: “For me, I think Charles is perhaps the biggest star for the future, maybe more than Max, because he’s good. Today I think he is not happy, but in 10 years for him to have this podium or not it will make no difference,” Vettel told reporters after the Turkish Grand Prix. Having Charles as a team-mate, I often see myself in him as well. He is a lot younger, he is very quick. I haven‘t had the chance to talk to him after the race, but I will tell him later that being on the podium today is a bit irrelevant for him because he has so many years ahead of him, so many podiums to come. I am sure of that.”
He added: “It is right that Charles is angry. He did a mistake, lost the podium that way. But as I said in the big picture probably irrelevant for him. I never let this get between us. I am happy for anything that he achieves and will achieve in the future because he is a good kid.”
Leclerc had a similar incident during the 2019 Azerbaijan GP qualifying, while having his first season at Ferrari. He parked the car in the barrier at Turn 8, that resulted in the famous “I am stupid/useless” radio message, due to which (possibly) Ferrari asked Leclerc to turn off his team radio after the end of the Turkish GP.