Leclerc's 'best teammate' Vettel backed for recovery by Mercedes

Toto Wolff says Sebastian Vettel remains a great driver and has backed the out-of-form Ferrari man to recover from his ongoing slump and put pressure on Mercedes once again.

Vettel was neck and neck with Lewis Hamilton in last year’s title battle until a string of results, sparked by his slide into the gravel at the German GP, saw him tumble out of contention.

Those struggles have bled over into 2019, with more on-track errors hampering his hopes in a season that has been coloured by Ferrari frustration after their pre-season title-favourite car failed to deliver on its promise.

The emergence of Charles Leclerc has further impacted Vettel, who spun out of the points before the Monegasque went on to win the Italian GP last weekend, Ferrari’s first Monza triumph in nine years.

But Mercedes team boss Wolff says Vettel’s standing as a four-time world champion makes him sure that the 32-year-old will once again be a major figure in the championship.

“I’m just saying, don’t write him off,” Wolff warned.

“He’s a four-time world champion, and the difference between the great ones and the good ones is that the great ones are able to get up again. And I have no doubt that he can do that.

“He’s had a spell of bad races, and now it will be about the ability to get himself back into where he deserves to be, and [Italy] for sure is a bad day for him.”

Leclerc overtook Vettel in the drivers’ standings with his victory in Monza, but was quick to pay tribute to the German’s role in helping him settle in F1.

“He’s definitely the most complete driver I’ve been in the same team with,” Leclerc said in Monza.

“I’ve learned a lot from Sebastian. He’s an amazing driver, very quick. He has a lot of experience too so the way he works is very methodical and very detailed and of that I’ve learned a lot.”