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Leclerc would match Hamilton at Mercedes, says Briatore

Leclerc would match Hamilton at Mercedes, says Briatore

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Leclerc would match Hamilton at Mercedes, says Briatore

Leclerc would match Hamilton at Mercedes, says Briatore

Flavio Briatore says Charles Leclerc would be good enough to match the performances of Lewis Hamilton, where he driving a Mercedes rather than a Ferrari in 2019.

Leclerc is third in the drivers' championship with four races remaining of his maiden campaign with Ferrari, having secured more pole positions than any other driver on the grid.

However, he is a massive 117 points behind Hamilton, whose only remaining title rival is Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, 64 points adrift the five-time world champion.

Although Leclerc's season has not been error-free, Briatore believes he is already among the sport's best performers.

"Leclerc can already become world champion," Briatore told Rai Radio. "Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso have proven that it's not about age, it's about talent.

"Lewis Hamilton is so strong because he makes few mistakes, even the Mercedes racing team gets everything spot on. The Silver Arrow is already very good."

Although Mercedes have proven unbeatable for a sixth straight season, with a record-breaking title double secured last time out in Japan, Briatore believes the Silver Arrows' rivals have been guilty of not capitalising on opportunities, and says Leclerc and Max Verstappen will be the ones to bring them down if their teams can get their act together.

He added: "The driver can play a role. I remain convinced: Fernando Alonso would have conquered the title in 2018 with a Ferrari. Because he would have made fewer mistakes than Vettel.

"The world champions of the future, however, are called Leclerc and Verstappen. If Leclerc was sitting in a Mercedes, he would be driving at eye level with Hamilton. I'd like to see something like that - Leclerc and Hamilton at Mercedes, or Verstappen and Hamilton at Mercedes."

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