Thuesday, 18 december 2018, 11:20 , by Martin Macdonald
Esteban Ocon believes that Charles Leclerc will be a contender for the driver's championship in the 2019 Formula 1 season following the Monegasque driver's move from Sauber to Ferrari, saying if Leclerc found himself up against the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, it would come as no surprise.
During this season, it was announced that Leclerc would be replacing Kimi Raikkonen at the Scuderia, with the Finn moving in the other direction to his former team, Sauber.
The move comes as Ferrari attempt to topple Mercedes in the constructor's championship, which has been dominated by the Silver Arrows in the V6-Hybrid era.
Ocon, who is without a seat for the 2019 F1 season, has admitted he would not be surprised if Leclerc battled for the championship.
“I think Charles will fight for the title next year for sure, at least it won’t be a surprise to me,” he told RaceFans.net.
“I know him pretty well. The first race we raced together was in 2005 in mini-karts we were seven, eight years old. And we were first and second and I was on the inside and we crashed in the last corner of the last lap so he didn’t finish and I finished like sixth or seventh.
Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) November 28, 2018
“That was the first time we met and all our career we’ve been fighting like this together. I knew he had a very good talent from day one. He’s one of the quickest guys out there. I think he will show that next year, definitely.”