Leclerc threat won't push Vettel to retire, Coulthard claims

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Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has defended Sebastian Vettel as he faces a growing threat from Charles Leclerc.

The German has come under pressure this year following a tough race in Bahrain and several team orders controversies with his new Ferrari teammate.

However, Coulthard claimed the more negative perception around Vettel is born from different expectations people have compared to the Monegasque.

"Here we are dealing with two different types of pressure," he told Germany's AutoBild.

"Seb has to win, anything else isn't good enough. Charles has it easier. He just has to be faster than Sebastian and prove that he can beat a four-time world champion and has a great future."

Despite the very different dynamic now at Ferrari compared to last year, the ex-Red Bull and McLaren driver supported the decision to promote him from Sauber.

"Sebastian had a stress-free phase with Kimi [Raikkonen], but Ferrari would have been wrong to keep Kimi," the Scot said.

"Charles provides emotions and that's what Ferrari stands for in its history.

"We all want the tough teammate battles. Like Senna with Prost, like Lewis with Nico, and now Charles with Seb.

"Take a look at Red Bull this season. Max Verstappen gets zero pressure from Pierre Gasly, who hasn't delivered yet. This is not good."

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Leclerc's impressive performances in Bahrain and Baku have even led some to wonder how long Vettel will stay at Ferrari if his place as team leader is weakened.

"Sure, Sebastian isn't getting any younger, but he's still a great champion, he is still very fast," Coulthard responded.

"Although Charles may be the future of Formula 1 with Max Verstappen, he is not faster than Sebastian, that's a fact.

"As I said, Sebastian has more pressure and he knows that too. Sebastian has to win the world championship, Charles just has to be better than Sebastian.

"Of course that's a lot easier. But I'm convinced Sebastian can handle it."

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