Jenson Button reckons that Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will form a better partnership in 2020 than in 2019, when their personalities clashed as team-mates for the first time.
After impressing with Sauber, Leclerc was promoted to Ferrari as a replacement to Kimi Raikkonen, with the Scuderia subsequently announcing, however, that he would remain as second priority to Vettel for that time.
It didn’t work out like that, however, as team orders were ignored on occasion, with Leclerc also going on to outperform Vettel with two race victories to one over the course of the campaign. Things came to a head when they clashed in the Brazilian Grand Prix, leading to retirements for both drivers.
Ferrari reprimanded them afterwards, but Button thinks we will see a stronger bond in 2020, even if they remain competitive against each other.
"They had a few incidents in 2019, hopefully this year that won't be the case. They are both very quick,” he told Sky Sports.
"I think last year they were both trying to find their position in the team. The new guy coming in, Charles Leclerc, and getting more pole positions than anyone, and Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion.
"Two very talented drivers and I think after that first year together now they can really work as a team and focus on fighting Mercedes, not just fighting each other.
“It needs to be managed well and I don't think it was maybe at certain points last year within Ferrari.
"I think Sebastian now understands how quick his team-mate is and I think they'll have a much better relationship this year. They obviously want to beat each other but I do think that pairing is very strong.
"In terms of setting up a car, Sebastian looks very good at doing that. He spends more hours than anyone with the engineers and trying to fine-tune things here and there.”
Button believes it is natural for a veteran driver to be slightly threatened by a young upstart, and cites the dynamic between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton together at McLaren as an example, but thinks any bad blood ultimately dies down eventually.
"When there's a young gun in your team - we found it with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton when they were team-mates in McLaren - it does hurt the experienced driver a little bit. But once you get over that and look at him as an equal it's very different and I think they will work well together,” he added.
"I hope they do, because it's important for the championship."
Ferrari will reveal their 2020 challenging car on Tuesday.
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