Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton - 2025 and 2026 Ferrari teammates

Formula 1 News: Hamilton will ‘eat’ Leclerc at Ferrari – Doornbos

(GMM) Two former Formula 1 drivers have questioned Ferrari’s decision to choose Charles Leclerc over Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2025 and beyond.

Sainz, 29, is currently linked with Mercedes and Red Bull, but more strongly linked with a long and lucrative deal with the newly Audi-owned Sauber.

But his impressive form alongside the continuing Leclerc in his final season with Ferrari so far in 2024 has some wondering if Ferrari chose the wrong driver to pair with Lewis Hamilton.

“He is undoubtedly beating Leclerc at the moment,” 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve said. “People are beginning to realize that he is a serious contender.

“He is mature and dedicated, intelligent, hard-working, which makes the difference. Talent alone is not enough,” the Canadian added.

Villeneuve thinks Ferrari were actually conflicted about ousting Sainz at the end of the year in order to sign 39-year-old seven time world champion Hamilton.

“There are two sides at Ferrari,” he said. “One wanted Hamilton and the other wanted to keep Leclerc. So Sainz was the sacrificial lamb.

“Ironically, Sainz will probably come out with a better situation. You have to wonder if they’re thinking, ‘What have we done?'”

There is no doubt about Leclerc’s talent, with the 26-year-old securing a new multi-year Ferrari contract earlier this year.

But former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos told Ziggo Sport: “Leclerc is too nice to be world champion.

“He doesn’t seem hard enough when I look at the mistakes he makes and how he is with the engineers. A Hamilton or a (Max) Verstappen next to him is not possible.

“If Ferrari produces the best car next year, then Hamilton will eat him up,” the Dutchman said.

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