Former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello has backed Charles Leclerc to provide a "good challenge" to Sebastian Vettel in the 2019 season following his move to Ferrari from Sauber, but has warned the Monegasque youngster that he must be mentally strong to succeed in the team.
Barrichello competed in F1 for 18 years between 1993 and 2011, and won 11 Grand Prix races in his time, with the majority of the victories coming in the red of Ferrari.
The Brazilian remains hopeful that Leclerc can make an instant impact with the Prancing Horse and even challenge Vettel as the team's top driver, but thinks it is important that 21-year-old has a cool, strong head following the switch from Sauber.
“I’m super excited for him [Leclerc]," Barrichello told Autosport.
“He’s one of those young guys who really made his way through [impressively].
Over the course of @Charles_Leclerc's junior career, he has finished no lower than P2 in the championship standings. 8 titles in 10 years ???? pic.twitter.com/EWehc4uIKQ — Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) January 2, 2019
“To get into Ferrari [and be successful], the only thing you need is to be really good in your head. Talent, we know he has.
“It’s going to be a good challenge for Seb.”
Leclerc only has a solitary season under his belt in Formula 1, but finished in 13th place out of the 20 drivers with 39 points collected with Sauber after honing his craft successfully with championship victories in GP3 and Formula 2.