'Leclerc battle isn't as important as Ferrari success'
Sebastian Vettel insists beating his team-mate Charles Leclerc in this year’s campaign isn’t as important as ensuring that Ferrari takes a step forward.
Last season Ferrari was at best, the second best team on the grid, at worst, the third.
The Scuderia was trounced by Mercedes, finishing runner-up in the championship for the third year in a row.
Ferrari managed just three wins and 504 points to Mercedes’ 15 grand prix victories and 739 points.
The campaign also saw Vettel lose to a team-mate for only the second time in his Formula 1 caree, the first being in 2014 when he lost to Daniel Ricciardo.
The four-time World Champion was a disappointing P5 in the 2019 Drivers’ standings with his team-mate Leclerc fourth, 24 points ahead.
Looking ahead to the 2020 season, when it finally begins, Vettel is adamant that beating Leclerc, or losing to him, isn’t as important as making ensure that Ferrari moves in the right direction.
“It is not so important whether I have five points more or less [compared to Leclerc],” he said in an exclusive interview with Autosport.
“The important thing is that we are heading in the right direction as a team.
“Obviously last year was a step back, because we were not as strong as the years before. There’s reasons.
“Those we need to understand and make sure we eliminate them and make progress again.
“Then five points up or down, for sure in the moment I care, but really what all of our target is here, is to make sure that Ferrari comes back to the top.”
Ferrari last won the Drivers’ Championship in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen taking the title ahead of McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
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