Lewis Hamilton has responded to the challenge of Charles Leclerc from the thrilling race in Bahrain, stating that he will treat the young Ferrari upstart 'with caution' until he is more accustomed to his racing style, particularly when going wheel-to-wheel.
Despite a power failure with ten laps remaining which cost him victory, Leclerc was the undoubted winner of the weekend, recording pole on Saturday and producing a superb drive that Hamilton himself concluded was deserving of the win.
In the end Leclerc finished third and Hamilton lavished praise on the young driver when speaking post-race, stating that we can expect 'many more wins' from him in the season to come.
The world champion stated that the 21-year-old is now clearly on his radar, and he will have to approach him tentatively until he can truly appreciate Leclerc's style.
He said: "I think every time you come across a new driver that you've had very little experience with, you approach it with caution.
"You don't know how they behave, you don't know if they're erratic, super aggressive or they're more relaxed, or they're more prone mistakes, all of those sorts of things.
"I've not had any time on track with him to assess him. He looks like a very, very stable, fair and balanced driver as far as I can tell. But through the season you'll see.
"I approach it currently the same as I approach Sebastian. At the moment I've not had a wheel-to-wheel battle with him [Leclerc]. But I will discover that at some stage, I'm sure.
"Hopefully we will get some wheel-to-wheel battles through the year."
Hamilton also reserved some sympathy for rival Sebastian Vettel, who spun in Bahrain following an incident involving the Mercedes star, and he was quick to point out the fine margins involved in driving in these races.
He added: "It's not that it plays on your mind, it happens to all of us. Just because you're a four-time champion doesn't mean you're not going to have off-weekends. It's more cumulative.
"If you look at Vettel's career he's had stunning performances that far more outweigh the weaker races, and when he's spun, for example, they are minuscule.
"There are always times where you happen to just not get the right car set-up. You guys don't get to see all these little things that we're doing, and it just doesn't happen to work that weekend. And the differences are so small, and yet they look so big."
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