Cape Town - Ex-Ferrari Academy driver Raffaele Marciello is
"convinced" that Charles Leclerc can immediately take the fight to
Sebastian Vettel at the Scuderia in 2019.
Given Leclerc's relative inexperience and young age, there
is an expectation that the Monegasque will have a bedding-in period at Ferrari
But Marciello, a former F3 champion and test driver for
Ferrari and Sauber, believes Leclerc can put the four-time World Champion under
"Personally I don't think Vettel was ever on par with
Hamilton, Alonso or even Kubica," Marciello said.
"I am convinced that when Charles arrives at Ferrari,
he will be able to beat him right away.
"In the years of the Red Bull titles he had Mark Webber
behind him, not a champion. And their car was much better than all the
Asked if he felt Daniel Ricciardo was a quicker driver than
Vettel at Red Bull, he added: "Yes, and in the end, we saw it on track.
"Then, of course, one could argue and say that the car
of that year [RB10] was more suited to the characteristics of Daniel rather
than those of Sebastian, but we can say what we want: a true champion must
always know how to adapt."
Marciello also believes not too much can be read into
Vettel's superiority over current team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.
"The comparison with Raikkonen is not very
reliable," he said.
"When I drove during testing in Abu Dhabi in 2014, I
was seven-tenths faster than Kimi, but those seven-tenths did not mean I was
stronger than him.
"Simply, I had a great desire to get on track and push
to the limit, Kimi maybe has lost this type of motivation. A good comparison
can be made using Fernando [Alonso], who was always in front of Raikkonen.
"Sure, it is true that Vettel also beats Kimi, but not
always and anyway the gap between them is less."