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Prost: Vettel-Leclerc Ferrari rivalry may hand title to Mercedes

Prost: Vettel-Leclerc Ferrari rivalry may hand title to Mercedes

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Prost: Vettel-Leclerc Ferrari rivalry may hand title to Mercedes

Prost: Vettel-Leclerc Ferrari rivalry may hand title to Mercedes

Alain Prost has warned that allowing Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel to keep battling for supremacy at Ferrari could play into Mercedes' hands once again in 2020.

Since the summer break, Ferrari have unlocked the SF90's potential, taking pole position in all five races, with Leclerc succeeding four times before Vettel broke his streak last time out in Japan.

Race victories followed in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, but races in Sochi and Suzuka fell apart amid a farcical attempt to engineer the race in Russia and then errors in Japan.

With Ferrari's progress hinting that 2020 could be the year they finally push the Silver Arrows hard, it will ramp up the pressure on Leclerc especially, but Prost believes the newcomer is capable.

"He's already a big star. He has adapted very quickly to almost number-one status in a team like Ferrari that never took a young driver before. It's the first time for them," Prost told RMC.

"Withstanding pressure like that is not so obvious, even if there were some difficulties at times. But it is still a quite impressive maturity."

Vettel refused to cede to Leclerc in Russia, forcing Ferrari to put the Monegasque back ahead at the pit-stop phase, only for the whole plan to go up in flames when Vettel retired and Mercedes benefitted from the subsequent VSC period.

"It's a complicated situation of management," he said.

"With his experience, Vettel was considered the number one in the team, so it's hard to manage that. I think it's going to be difficult, especially next year.

"I think Ferrari will be strong next year and they will have to deal with the fight between Charles and Sebastian. If the car is good and they are both fighting over the title, that could give it to Mercedes."

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