Lewis Hamilton has praised Belgian Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc for the job he's done at Ferrari this season, going up against a four-time World Champion in Sebastian Vettel and "continuously outperforming" him.
Leclerc took his maiden Formula 1 victory on Sunday, which was also Ferrari's first this year, and looked to have the measure of Vettel all weekend by first outqualifying him by a huge seven-tenths, before delivering a masterclass on Sunday.
It's the sixth time in as many races that Vettel has been beaten by Leclerc in qualifying, whilst the 21-year-old has been Ferrari's only real shot at victory in 2019, coming close in Bahrain before reliability robbed him and then in Austria, where he was passed on the last lap.
"I think his results speak for themselves really," said Hamilton of Leclerc's debut season with Ferrari. "It’s not easy for any driver to jump into a top team, let alone Ferrari, against a four-time World Champion.
"[Vettel has] god knows how much more experience, and then to continuously from race one, out-perform, out-qualify and out-drive a four-time World Champion is not easy to do.
"So I think that speaks for itself. He’s been really unlucky in quite a few races this year. Could easily have been the third win today.
"So, there’s a lot more greatness to come from him and I’m looking forward to seeing his growth and racing alongside him. It was fun today, trying to chase him. He was just a little bit too quick."
Leclerc sits just 11 points off Vettel in the standings, with the Ferrari drivers holding fourth and fifth, behind the two Mercedes' and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.