Leclerc ready to battle for top Ferrari billing

Charles Leclerc is ready to give Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto a headache by proving himself the equal of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The 21-year-old impressed for Sauber in his debut Formula One season last year and was signed to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

He has joined forces with four-time world champion Vettel and has already made an impression during pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Leclerc now hopes to pose a "problem" to team principal Binotto, who looks set to prioritise Vettel as the team's star driver.

"Obviously I will be happy if I get used to this car as soon as possible and I'm straight on the pace," Leclerc said in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

"But I'm realistic too, it's only my second season in Formula One and I have a lot to learn.

"There's a long road ahead, but I'm pushing to be as ready as possible for the first race and if Mattia has the problem to manage two quick drivers then it's a good sign for me.

"But I want to focus on myself, trying to improve every time I'm going in the car. It's a top team and they are quite different to the team I was in before so it's a bit of an adaption."

Despite being in competition with Vettel for top billing, Leclerc is an admirer of the German, who is 10 years his senior.

"Seb is a very nice guy and it's not difficult to get on with him, so that's good," he added.

"We are working on different things with the car and it's good to have Seb next to me during these days [at testing]. It's good to see what are his strong points and what I can learn from him."

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