Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes the challenge of Charles Leclerc has been a positive for Sebastian Vettel this year.

Leclerc enjoyed a superb breakthrough season in Formula One in his second campaign, claiming two wins, seven pole positions and 10 podiums.

The youngster also outperformed his fellow Ferrari driver Vettel, finishing 24 points and one place ahead of the four-time world champion in the standings.

However, Binotto – who also said it was right for the team to allow Vettel to push for a win in the Singapore Grand Prix rather than Leclerc, who held pole position – thinks the German has benefitted from his team-mate's form.

"I think the challenge [of Leclerc] for him has been a good benchmark because having such a fast team-mate gave him some headaches," Binotto told Autosport .

READ: Leclerc expresses gratitude to Vettel after signing new Ferrari deal

"In order to improve himself, he's always very analytic. He approaches the exercise, he's not emotional in that respect, he's looking at the data, to compare the sectors, looking where he's eventually slower or faster.

"In the first part of the season, he has been put under a lot of pressure. I think he reacted very well in the second half.

"The victory in Singapore has been key for him, not only for the victory itself but the trust in the team.

"He knew that he could count on the team for help, if necessary. But I think it was right, it was the right choice and time to let him win."

Leclerc's reward for his fantastic 2019 campaign was a new contract, with Ferrari tying the 22-year-old down until 2024.