Vettel's F1 race pace is "stronger" than mine — Ferrari's Leclerc

David Coulthard, Channel 4 F1 Commentator

Charles Leclerc: I won't crash with Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel again

With growing concern that the lack of rules changes combined with teams focussing on 2021 will lead to this season being pretty much like 2019, many feel that the main hope of any genuine excitement is the rivalry between certain drivers and in particular the Ferrari pair, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

After starting from pole, Leclerc survived sustained pressure from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton throughout the race, which he eventually won ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Hamilton completing the podium. Seb has a big experience in the race and he's stronger than me at the moment.

Leclerc, F1's emerging star, and Vettel, a four-time champion, are team-mates again in 2020 and have proved that they won't give an inch on-track - leading many to believe that more clashes are inevitable.

"I had a lot of pressure; the whole team had a lot of pressure because we were in Italy and Ferrari in Italy is huge and everyone wanted us to win so there was big pressure around the whole team".

"It's very hard to find the words to describe what I felt during this race", he admitted. "I was going to say winter testing but actually in 2019 winter testing went a lot better than the first race".

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"So we will wait for the first race".

"We were working well together". But I feel definitely more ready than at the beginning of 2019.

Tension built between Leclerc and Vettel during 2019, with the pair clashing in Brazil, while a team orders row over Vettel not giving Leclerc a place back in Russian Federation also caused friction.

But Leclerc said they have been able to clear the air afterwards.

"I think we are mature enough to understand that whatever happens on track, obviously we are two competitors", he added.

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"It pushes both of us to try and push our limits", he explained. So yeah, we want to win.

"We want to win, we are extremely competitive, and sometimes on track we might have some friction", Leclerc told Autosport.

"I think the most important [thing] is that we work well together, especially off-track to try and develop the auto in the best way possible".

The 22-year-old Monegasque, who was speaking in an interview with Autosport, added: "The most important thing is we work together well off track to develop the vehicle in the best way possible and of course not exceed the limits when we are on track like we have seen in Brazil".

"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".

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