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Charles Leclerc reminds ex-Ferrari president of the late Niki Lauda

Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said the Italian team's latest race winner Charles Leclerc reminds him of the Niki Lauda of the 1970s.

The 21-year-old Monegasque took his first Formula One victory in Belgium last Sunday, also becoming Ferrari's youngest ever winner, and has impressed with his calmness under pressure and speed.

Speaking to reporters at an event in Milan yesterday morning (Singapore time) to mark Ferrari's 90th anniversary, Montezemolo said Leclerc was quick even last year in his debut season with an uncompetitive Sauber.

"With Ferrari, of course it's different. He makes very few mistakes," said Montezemolo.

"Like Niki at the beginning, he was only conscious why he made the mistake (and how) not to repeat it.

"I think he is a very intelligent driver, very quick. Not only on one lap but also in the race.

"I think he can maybe be the best representative of a new generation of drivers. It's very important for Formula One."

Austrian Lauda, who died in May at the age of 70, won his first two titles with Ferrari in 1975 - at the age of 26 - and then in 1977 after a stunning 1976 comeback from a near-fatal crash.

Montezemolo, who had joined as Enzo Ferrari's assistant, was team manager at the time and had an instant rapport with the driver. - REUTERS

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