Monza: Sebastian Vettel was supposed to be the man to follow in Michael Schumacher’s footsteps at Ferrari but the heir apparent to the master of Maranello is looking more and more like Charles Leclerc.
The 21-year-old Monegasque’s victory at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday triggered scenes of intense emotion at Ferrari’s home race and catapulted Leclerc ahead of Vettel in the standings.
The newspaper headline writers left no doubt about the prevailing sentiment on Monday.
“Reclerc” declared the front page of the daily Gazette dello Sport, playing on the Monegasque’s surname with the Italian word for king and announcing the coronation of the team’s ‘little prince’. Vettel, lapped by his teammate after collecting a 10 second stop/go penalty for dangerous driving, was highlighted as a man in crisis. The victory at Monza was Leclerc’s second in a row, following on from his breakthrough in Belgium the previous weekend, but the first by a Ferrari driver since 2010.
Two-thirds of the way through the campaign, the youngster is ahead of Vettel on points, poles, podiums and wins.