Charles Leclerc, Laurent Mekies talk about the person Sebastian Vettel outside the F1 car as opposed to a racer as the German reflects on partnership with the Monegasque.
The two F1 seasons together for Leclerc and Vettel at Ferrari was a mixture of emotions, where they not only celebrated some good times but had some low moments too. However, the relation seemingly did not turn into an undue fight among the teammates.
It was handled maturely by both as Vettel bid goodbye to Ferrari with some good memories, apart from the news of them not renewing with him. His racing is anyhow celebrated and remembered but Leclerc and Mekies here stress on the person outside.
Both wished to part on a good note and celebrate the human side of Vettel. “For me, it will be the person I will remember, more than the moments we’ve shared together,” said Leclerc to media including F1, Motorsport Network, Racefans.net, BBC and more. “The way I’ve been welcomed in the team, I couldn’t hope for better.
“Just to have him on the other side of the garage. I think he’s one of the few drivers in the paddock that manage to make the difference between what’s happened in the car and the person outside the car, which I think I am also one of them. And that’s makes it that the relationship was always good, even when sometimes on track it was difficult.
“I mean I’ve grown so much as a person thanks to him, having him next to me was also an example for me to follow. And I will remember these two years as a whole,” summed up Leclerc, as Sporting Director Mekies concurred with the Monegasque, who also joined Ferrari towards the end of Vettel’s time in the F1 team.
“I will also pick, non racing moments,” said Mekies. “It’s nothing to do with racing there. We’ve mentioned earlier, it’s when it is difficult, that it was always incredible to go on and speak to Vettel, because you will get an honest view at things. It doesn’t mean that we would agree all the times, but it means that you will get what he really thinks.
“He will always be able to get his point of view across by involving the people by getting them on board. And that was priceless, simply, and it’s easy to do that when everything goes good. But from a human perspective, it’s a complete different to be able to do that when things are difficult, and that’s where he was certainly outstanding.”
Even from Vettel, the German felt similar things with people involved. His gesture to sing a song at the end of his tenure was icing on the cake and to Leclerc, he remarked well during their helmet exchange, with a message which went: “To Charles, you are the most talented driver I came across in 15 years of F1. Don’t waste it.
“But be sure whatever you do to be happy and smile. Thanks for everything.” Elaborating more on his teammates – which includes Kimi Raikkonen – Vettel spoke fondly of both to Blick. “I think the focus is on interpersonal relationships,” he said. “I had it very well, especially with Kimi. These years have shaped me.
“Avoiding problems when the car is not that powerful also matures as a person and driver. The time we spent with Charles was also very helpful because we are both at different places in our careers. And then I saw myself in him very often.
“I think Leclerc is the greatest talent I’ve come across in the last 15 years. I was also shaped by the team and the culture at Ferrari. Life is a learning process everywhere. And there is a lot going on in the subconscious,” summed up Vettel.
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