Binotto thinks Leclerc can challenge Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto is confident his star racer Charles Leclerc could give Lewis Hamilton a tough challenge.
With Sebastian Vettel out of the picture, Binotto is leaning on Leclerc to put Scuderia Ferrari back on top.
In a recent interview with Grandprix247, Binotto even boasted that the 23-year-old is a driver who can handle the dominance of Hamilton on the track.
“I think he’s got a lot of talent,” BInotto said of Leclerc. “If he’s got the right car, I’m pretty sure he can challenge Lewis Hamilton.”
Almost the entire 2020, Hamilton had been linked to a switch to Ferrari from Mercedes. However, things did not come to fruition and Ferrari ended up axing Vettel.
Now, the team has formed the team-up of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz for the 2021 season. After all, Binotto doesn’t “regret” a single thing about the failed move of the seven-time world champion and is optimistic about the youth of Ferrari’s new pair.
“We’ve made our choices, and I think [Leclerc] together with Carlos Sainz, we are very strong,” the team principal pointed out. “I don’t think there will be any regret. I don’t think there will be regret because at the end when we took some decisions, we took them thinking they were the right decisions and today we have a fantastic driver like Charles where we invested a lot as Ferrari.”
“We will have a very young line-up in the future, the youngest Ferrari line-up since 1968, but those two drivers, Charles and Carlos, are very strong, very talented, and even though they are young they have some good experience in F1. So I’m very happy for the choice,” he added.
As for Vettel, Binotto insists that though they had “great moments” with the four-time world champion, the time has finally come to part ways.
“I think Sebastian is a great person, a great driver, and we had some great moments together; but I think it was time to take a different decision and to move forward,” the 51-year-old explained.
This year, Leclerc is bound to enter his third season with Ferrari. His new teammate Sainz, on the other hand, will have his debut campaign with the Italian racing team.
As early as now, Binotto assures that no one will be treated as superior to the other and the youngsters will be given a fair chance to prove who the better driver is.
“There is not a number one and number two, they will have equal opportunities–certainly at the start of the season,” Binotto confirmed. “I’m pretty happy then that they are free to fight. ”
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