Hulkenberg: 'Don't rule out Vettel' but Leclerc set to be 'more confident' in 2020

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Though Sebastian Vettel can't be "ruled out", Nico Hulkenberg does admit Charles Leclerc will be "even more confident" heading into 2020.

After a difficult 2019, the four-time world champion starts the new season very much with a point to prove, that he can still hack it up against the top drivers at the front of the grid.

Indeed, having been the lead man at Ferrari since joining in 2015, this year he begins on a level footing with teammate Charles Leclerc, but Hulkenberg believes his fellow German can bounce back.

“Don’t rule out Sebastian! He can always come back strong,” the now-former Formula 1 driver told AFP.

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However, Nico, who faces his first year off the F1 grid since 2011 after losing his seat at Renault, knows Vettel faces a challenge against the Monegasque. 

“With Charles Leclerc, he has a strong teammate who has become even more confident thanks to the contract extension,” Hulkenberg added.

Elsewhere, the 32-year-old is also expecting a big year from Red Bull in 2020.

“I have a good feeling, they have taken a step forward and hopefully challenge Mercedes," he declared.

“Last year Max Verstappen secured third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and ahead of the Ferraris.”