Leclerc: I don't become number one driver at Ferrari when Sainz arrives

Dejan Kalinic

Rome, May 25: Charles Leclerc played down suggestions he would become Ferrari's number one driver when Carlos Sainz Jr. arrives next year.

Leclerc impressed in his first season with Ferrari last year, finishing fourth in the drivers' championship.

The 22-year-old has extended his contract with the team until 2024, and next year will have a new team-mate when Sainz arrives from McLaren to replace Sebastian Vettel.

Leclerc was full of praise for Sainz, who finished sixth in the drivers' championship last year.

"I do not become number one," he told L'Equipe on Sunday (May 24).

"I think Carlos is a great driver and he will show it. It is obvious to everyone already. For me, it will be a great challenge."

Leclerc also paid tribute to Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the year with his future uncertain.

"He taught me a lot of things, that's true," he said. "I'm happy to have had him as a partner because he is a very experienced pilot."

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