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Vettel vows to keep Leclerc honest: 'I'm not going to be waving him by'


The German expects their on-track battles will continue.

Sebastian Vettel expects his on-track battles with Charles Leclerc to continue in the 2020 season even though he is leaving Ferrari.

Formula 1® returns with the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend and the performance of Vettel will be in the spotlight.

The four-time world champion is leaving the Scuderia at the end of the campaign, with Leclerc – who was handed a long-term contract – to be joined by McLaren's Carlos Sainz from 2021.

Leclerc and Vettel often clashed during a frantic 2019 campaign for Ferrari, as the Monegasque star impressed with seven pole positions, ultimately finishing ahead of his more experienced team-mate in the drivers' championship.

And Vettel, who said the team had never offered him a new contract, insists his status in the team will not change his competitiveness.

"Surely should the situation arise and make sense I think you expect both drivers to help each other out," said Vettel, who is yet to decide on his future in the sport.

"I don't think that has anything to do with the fact that my contract expires and I'm going to be leaving the team.

"But at the same time you are racing for yourself – you know, not trying to make Charles' life easier on track in terms of waving him by.

"We have been fighting each other in the past and we will continue to do so."

Leclerc, meanwhile, reiterated his respect for Vettel, and insisted there would be times when working as a team was right and others when fighting for position would be more appropriate.

"Obviously I've learned a massive amount with Seb as a team-mate and I will continue to at the end of the season," Leclerc said.

"We had our on track battles and sometimes it didn't end the way we wanted but with respect off track, which was good to see.

"I don't think that [not having favours from Vettel] will change compared to the other season.

"Last year we were fighting each other and of course sometimes we need to also play as a team, or drive as a team and work as a team, which is always very important.

"It's also beneficial for us to in some ways to work as a team. Again there will be situations where it's good that we have to work as a team."