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Leclerc beating Vettel no surprise - Ocon

Leclerc beating Vettel no surprise - Ocon

F1 News

Leclerc beating Vettel no surprise - Ocon

Leclerc beating Vettel no surprise - Ocon

Esteban Ocon says Charles Leclerc getting the better of Sebastian Vettel in 2019 should not be seen as a surprise, highlighting the hunger across F1's younger generation.

Leclerc took a class-leading seven pole positions in 2019 – his first season with Ferrari – adding two race wins to finish the year fourth in the drivers' championship and become just the second team-mate to get the better of Vettel across a campaign.

The Monegasque is now signed up to a contract with Ferrari that runs to 2024, while Vettel could depart Maranello at the end of 2020, when his deal expires, with Lewis Hamilton linked with replacing him.

Ocon, a rival of Leclerc's in junior formulae, says the 22-year-old is capable of anything if Ferrari continue to deliver suitable cars.

"Charles deserves what happens to him and it's not a surprise to me," Ocon told NextGen Auto.

"I said if he had the car to win races and poles, he would do it. I also said he would finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

"We fought our whole careers together with him, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly to get there. It is also what allowed us to raise our level and which motivated us to always do better."

Although he has been brought up in F1 by Mercedes and Renault, for whom he will race for next year, Ocon says his childhood was spent idolising Ferrari's all-time star.

"Michael Schumacher was my role model," Ocon said. "He changed this sport in terms of application and the way teams see drivers. He set the bar at a huge level. I still have his helmet design on mine."

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