But while Leclerc’s natural speed is obvious, he does lack F1 experience with only this season with Sauber under his belt – and that is why Vettel thinks it would be a mistake if the pair locked horns in a fight for internal supremacy.
“It’s going to be different for sure, because Charles is not Kimi and Kimi is not Charles,” said Vettel, in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com.
“He is young, so he will have a lot on his head and a lot of things in his mind. So I think for the team we need to work together on track.
“I am sure he wants to beat me, [and] I want to beat him, the rules are clear. It was the same with Kimi. But I think the key is that we work together and, as I said, he will have a lot things going on in his head.
“I am his teammate, so I am also here to help. I am the last one that is trying to hide or playing any games or anything like that. That is why I think I get along very well with Kimi, because in this regard we are very similar. So we will see.”
Although Raikkonen’s failure to convince Ferrari to keep him for 2019 could have prompted him to walk away from F1, a deal with Sauber means he will continue racing into his forties.
Vettel says he is sceptical about extending his own career to such an age.
“Well, its another 10 years from now to go as long as Kimi,” he said. “It is a long time. It’s as long as I’ve been here, so now its half time basically. I don’t know.
“We’re looking at 400 grands prix… in total. I don’t know, you should never say never, but maybe not. I don’t know. Depends, you know. If I win the next 10 years with Ferrari, than yeah, why not?”