Vettel will eat a young driver alive, claims Villeneuve
Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve is not shy when coming forward with opinions on current F1 drivers and he has been critical of Sebastian Vettel, believing the German would 'eat a young driver alive' if Kimi Raikkonen is replaced.
Raikkonen's contract expires at the end of the current season and speculation continues to grow that the talented Charles Leclerc is being lined up as Ferrari's number two driver in 2019, alongside Vettel.
Speaking to F1's podcast Beyond the Grid, however, Villeneuve defended the Finn and added that Vettel would not respond well to being paired with an aspiring driver, and it will be to the detriment of the team as a whole.
He said: “Look at the work [Kimi’s] been doing. He’s third in the championship, he’s often quicker than Vettel and when he’s not he’s just a tenth behind. He’s paramount in the development of the car. The whole team works fantastically well now.
“Put a young ‘cub’ next to Vettel and what will Vettel do? He’ll try to eat him alive. Either he will destroy the young cub or it will end in tears and the whole team will end up going slower within two years. That’s not constructive.”
The Canadian also commented on the possibility of Leclerc, adding that he doesn't think the Frenchman is ready and that Ferrari would spend too much time developing him, rather than promoting a finished product.
He stated: “Charles is still making a few mistakes. It would be amazing for him, but it would be two years of Ferrari preparing him.
“Ferrari, like Mercedes, is not a team to prepare drivers. It’s a top team. Top teams they pay for the drivers when they are at their best and when they want them. That’s why you have junior teams, to prepare them.”
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