"Charles, even last year, was able, with a not very competitive car, to be quick without making mistakes," said the Italian, who joined Ferrari from Fiat in 1973, and was team boss when Lauda won his two titles with the Maranello outfit. "With Ferrari, of course, it is different, but he has made very few mistakes.
"Like Niki at the beginning, he was only conscious why he made the mistake and how not to repeat it," he added. "So I think this is a very intelligent driver, very quick. Not only on one lap but also in the race, as you see.
"I think he can be maybe be the best representative of the new generation of drivers, which is very important for F1."
In reference to recent media suggestions that Leclerc would make a better number one driver than Sebastian Vettel, Montezemolo said: "Sebastian is for me still very, very good.
"I think the pair is very good," he continued. "In the normal life, you have some moments with some difficulties. But I am sure he has all the characteristics to come back. I hope very soon... I hope in a few days.
"Vettel is not a number two," he insisted. "Vettel is a number one and Leclerc is in the process to be a number one, so it is good to have two number ones."
Referring to last week's race in Belgium, he added: "Sebastian was crucial for the victory. Without Sebastian it was very difficult for Leclerc to win the race, very difficult, because Sebastian was able to hold back Hamilton for a few laps."
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