Alesi: Leclerc to play 'second violin' to Vettel at Ferrari
Former Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi has claimed that he was not surprised when his former team Ferrari announced that Sebastian Vettel would be given priority over Charles Leclerc in the 2019 F1 season, saying that he always expected the latter to play "second violin" to the German.
Last year, the Scuderia announced that they would be replacing Kimi Raikkonen with Leclerc, who impressed in his debut F1 season with Sauber, now Alfa Romeo Racing.
With Vettel expected to be the main challenger for Lewis Hamilton's title, team boss Mattia Binotto said that he would be given "priority" over Leclerc in the early stages of the campaign.
That didn't come as a shock to Alesi.
"I have no doubt that Vettel is preferred and Leclerc plays second violin," Alesi told Radio Sportiva.
"But still, I think it will be very exciting between the two. The plan seems to me that Vettel must be first and Leclerc just second, but who knows. The season is long with 21 races! Vettel has at least everything to grab the title, so let's see what happens in Melbourne."
Alesi looked ahead to the 2019 season, and he fancies Red Bull to make an impact due to their new partnership with Honda, while expressing slight worry over Mercedes' performance in testing.
"The new Red Bull Honda will be very competitive," he said,
"I also think that Renault has achieved some good things with Ricciardo and that Kimi and Antonio can perform well with Alfa Romeo. Of course, Mercedes will also be strong, but Ferrari seems to be a bit stronger than at the beginning of last season,
"Let's not forget that Mercedes actually drove two totally different cars in Barcelona. That is usually not a good sign since the original plan did not deliver what was on paper. Ferrari, on the other hand, built on the fast car and can, therefore, continue to develop quietly."
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