Three-time Grand Prix winner and former teammate to Michael Schumacher, Johnny Herbert has said that Charles Leclerc is only going to get better and better as the young Monaquasge’s career progresses.
Speaking at the Autosport International in Birmingham, Herbert said that the momentum had started to shift to Leclerc in the Ferrari team after a strong start to the season and a change in driving style, whilst Sebastian Vettel struggled to match his young teammate and made crucial errors.
“There was an element of when Sebastian was weakening, Kimi [Raikkonen] did his good job to be perfectly frank, like the race he won in America, then Sebastian was his main man.
“Now when Charles jumped into the Ferrari their was still the element that Ferrari was still supporting the experienced man.
“That didn’t quite materialise unfortunately with the errors that came about on both sides and the way Charles reacted after what happened in Austria with Max [Verstappen] caused a shift where at the next race at Silverstone he got his elbows out which was brilliant.“
Although Herbert now believes that whilst Vettel is at the peak of his career, the mistakes which have thrown Vettel’s position as Ferrari number one into question might mean that Leclerc overtakes him as Ferrari’s star driver.
“You can see that Charles has that ability to be able to react to the situation, and the situation is going to Ferrari because Ferrari is a big deal because of what it stands for.
“The pressure is going to be higher than anywhere else and I think the way that he has gone this season and been the reliable driver that has been able to deliver some good consistent races.
“Sebastian doesn’t help himself like in Brazil so there’s going to be that slight swing, the thing is Sebastian is at his peak at the moment, but Charles’s is getting better and better and pretty soon he’s going to overtake him and be that shift in momentum”
Herbert also praised Mercedes and Toto Wolff for taking the pressure off Lewis Hamilton, something which Ferrari must do to Leclerc and Vettel if they wish to beat Hamilton.
“Lewis has Mercedes a massive brand and no pressure, Toto has done a very good job of taking the pressure off their shoulders, Sebastian carried Ferrari on his shoulders the past two seasons and you can’t do that,
“Lewis has no pressure Vettel has the pressure of the Italian media, Ferrari itself, the fans, if they don’t take pressure of Charles and Seb they ain’t going to beat Lewis because Lewis can do whatever the hell he wants and do it in a natural way”.