Boss ‘not surprised’ by Leclerc’s pace

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

(GMM) Mattia Binotto says Ferrari is "not surprised" about the testing performance of team newcomer Charles Leclerc.

In winter testing, most agreed that 21-year-old Leclerc, who replaces Kimi Raikkonen, looked a match for Sebastian Vettel.

"We are not surprised with what we saw from him," new team boss Binotto said.

However, he has said that Vettel will have "priority" over four time world champion Vettel in 2019.

"Charles is certainly very fast," said Binotto. "But Barcelona was all about getting to know the new car, and about the close contact between the drivers and engineers.

"A real comparison with Sebastian was not possible and not the goal. But they drove laptimes at eye level, which underscores Charles' speed," he added.

Binotto, however, reiterated that Ferrari always expected Leclerc to be quick.

"We must not forget that he has been part of the Ferrari family for several years, and last year we were able to look in peace at how he was doing at Sauber.

"So his performance in Barcelona was not out of the blue. On the other hand, the tests were not to confirm our choice. How the season goes for him is what matters," he said.

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