Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc should have their sights set on the championship and not each other in 2020, says former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button.
Speaking on Sky Sports about the driver partnership that dominated headlines last season, Button suggested they should now be fully-focused on challenging Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton instead of internal politics, having now had a year working together.
“They had a few incidents in 2019, hopefully this year that won’t be the case. They are both very quick,” he said.
“I think last year they were both trying to find their position in the team. The new guy coming in, Charles Leclerc, and getting more pole positions than anyone, and Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion.
“Two very talented drivers and I think after that first year together now they can really work as a team and focus on fighting Mercedes, not just fighting each other.”
A driver who, in his time with McLaren had his own experiences working alongside an ‘alpha dogs’ in Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, Button acknowledged it can be tough for a team to keep a balance between two strong personalities.
“It’s a tough one, but it needs to be managed well and I don’t think it was maybe at certain points last year within Ferrari,” he conceded.
However, as the senior driver of the two, he expects Vettel will keep things from getting out-of-hand again in 2020.
“I think Sebastian now understands how quick his team-mate is and I think they’ll have a much better relationship this year. They obviously want to beat each other but I do think that pairing is very strong.
“In terms of setting up a car, Sebastian looks very good at doing that. He spends more hours than anyone with the engineers and trying to fine-tune things here and there.
“When there’s a young gun in your team – we found it with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton when they were team-mates in McLaren – it does hurt the experienced driver a little bit. But once you get over that and look at him as an equal it’s very different and I think they will work well together.
“I hope they do, because it’s important for the championship.”