Sebastian Vettel says Max Verstappen's aggressive driving style is one of his key attributes, with the in-form Dutchman having moved clear at the top of the Formula 1® drivers' standings with four wins from five.
Verstappen, who won his first world championship in dramatic fashion last year, sits 21 points clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez after his triumph at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday.
After failing to finish in two of the first three races of the campaign, Verstappen has posted victories in Imola, Miami, Barcelona and Baku to take control of the title race.
With Perez claiming the top spot at the Monaco Grand Prix last month, and Verstappen also winning in Jeddah early in the year, Red Bull has made an excellent start to their quest for a first constructors' title since 2013, when Vettel was in their ranks.
While Verstappen's aggression has been criticised by some onlookers in the past, Vettel says it is a key part of the world champion's style.
"[Aggressive driving is] one of his strengths," Vettel told Stats Perform about 24-year-old Verstappen.
"I mean, obviously, he's had some mistakes, but I think, we all do mistakes, not necessarily related to the fact that you're still young.
"So, those younger guys have been around now also for a while, it's not new to them, it's just a normal transition."
At the other end of the drivers' standings, Mick Schumacher - son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, is yet to better his 11th-placed finish at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix so far this year.
But Vettel, who collided with Schumacher when the Haas driver was on course for a top-10 finish at the Miami Grand Prix last month, says the 23-year-old will come good as he continues to learn the ropes in the sport.
"I think it's partly normal. He's still relatively new to Formula One," Vettel said.
"Last year, I think he had a glimpse. But this year, he has a different car, so I think he still needs to obviously learn a lot, but you also need to give him time.
"Nowadays, I think people are very harsh in their judgments. Fair, he did some mistakes, so you need to have criticism, but I'm very sure that he will come out of it and he'll be fine."
Meanwhile, while the four-time world champion acknowledges Formula 1® is changing, he hopes none of the sport's most iconic events – such as the Monaco Grand Prix or Belgium's Spa, will be casualties of any future reforms to the racing calendar.
New and lucrative events have been added to the schedule over recent years amid a surge in the global interest.
"I think it would be a shame to lose out on some of the traditional and classic races," he added.
"Then again, times are changing. The sport might be changing. And whoever is making the shots or making the decisions, it's in their hands to decide what they believe is best.
"But just certainly from a driver's point of view, it would be a shame to lose a grand prix that has so much history."