Runaway F1 2011 World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel has outlined the two qualities he most seeks in a team-mate - honesty and respect - as Red Bull Racing have promised Mark Webber absolute equality of treatment over the remainder of the campaign.

The Red Bull 'favouritism' row so prevalent during 2010 reared its ugly head once more following the British Grand Prix at Silverstone just under a fortnight ago, as Webber - closing rapidly in on Vettel in the final laps and visibly eager to mount an assault on his team-mate's second place - was instructed from the pit wall to hold station in the interests of safely preserving a double podium finish.

It was an order with which the Australian was palpably unimpressed at the time - and this coming in the same race as had prompted his well-documented 'not bad for a number two driver' outburst only twelve months earlier - but subsequent discussions with team principal Christian Horner seem to have cleared the air somewhat, convincing Webber that had the positions been the other way round, the same instruction would have been given to Vettel and that the pair will henceforth be permitted to duel it out on-track this season 'most of the time'.

"We had a chat straight after the race debrief," he told AFP. "Christian put his view forward of how the situation built and [how] he came to the decision he made, and I put my case forward in how the situation built. We thought that we were both making the right decision - him to make the call for the team's interests, and I was in a situation where I was trying to improve my own position.

"We spoke about it. He guaranteed me that it would have been the same situation the other way around; if Seb was closing in on me, he would have still shut the race down. It was over pretty quick, really. It is not often that you are closing in the last few laps. We are still free to race most of the time - it was an awkward one but it is not often that things like that happen in terms of the time of the race, and up until then we will be racing."

Webber revealed at the time that he had ignored 'probably four or five' messages to back off, and he has since explained that he did so with Horner's disapproving words in the wake of the contentious 2010 German Grand Prix - a race whose outcome was so cynically manipulated by Red Bull's chief rivals Ferrari - uppermost in his mind.

"That's why I made the decision," the 34-year-old reflected. "I wasn't thinking about Hockenheim, but I was thinking about trying to pass Sebastian. He was not having the best stint, and I was having a reasonable stint so I was just trying to pass him.

"Nothing really changes for me. I am comfortable with what I did at Silverstone. The points are important, but it is [about] momentum and having the opportunity to improve. If Fernando [Alonso] stops on the last lap, which is unusual, but if he [does]...it makes it a bit more tricky. There are some questions that you guys need to ask Christian, which I cannot answer."

Adamant that the falling-out has had no negative impact upon his contract negotiations with RBR, as he turns his attentions more towards the immediate short-term, Webber is keen to maintain the upward trend he has been on of late - with three podium finishes in swift succession - in this weekend's German Grand Prix at the N?rburgring, a circuit around which he claimed his breakthrough top flight victory two years ago.

In order to begin closing the 80-point deficit he presently faces to Vettel in the F1 2011 title standings, a similar kind of result has to be the sole objective this time around - but the six-time grand prix-winner warns that Silverstone star Alonso will be very much in the mix again, too.

"I'm confident that I can do well," Webber told the BBC. "[The N?rburgring] is a good track and I like it a lot, and there could be key decisions to make on tyres and how you tackle the whole weekend. I'm feeling really good. The momentum has been coming for me off the back of a strong weekend at Silverstone, particularly off the back of qualifying. Valencia was also quite positive for me. I'm looking forward to it, even if it's wet.

"It is a chance for us at Red Bull to bounce back after Ferrari and Fernando Alonso came out on top in the British Grand Prix, but that wasn't a one-off for Ferrari. Fernando has been the one who has been consistent with Sebastian and myself over the last four or five weeks. Ferrari have improved a lot, and it's incredibly unlikely that it'll be their only victory of the year. It's pretty even, really. We need to continue to make it as difficult as possible for Sebastian to run away with it - or maybe Seb will destroy all of us again this weekend..."

Meanwhile, despite having ostensibly taken a pop at Webber post-Silverstone by telling motorsport-magazin.com that 'I think the most important thing is that when I go home tonight, I can look in the mirror and feel fine about myself', defending F1 World Champion Vettel has now hinted that retaining the current status quo on the driving front at Red Bull would be his personal preference heading into 2012, echoing Horner's argument that the arrival of somebody like McLaren-Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton would only disrupt the 'harmony' inside the team.

"In the end, it doesn't interest me who my team-mate is, as long as he or she is honest and we respect one another," the recently-turned 24-year-old told German news agency dpa. "Many people have misunderstood the relationship between Mark and myself - even if we aren't best friends, we do respect each other. It is talked about a lot, because definitely team harmony is very important - but you also need two drivers who push each other to constantly explore the limit."

Insisting that he is 'not happy to talk about myself' and would 'rather others did that', Vettel nonetheless conceded that it was 'an honour' to hear that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has tipped him to one day go on to match or surpass the legendary Michael Schumacher's achievements in the sport, asserting that 'I don't compare myself with Michael...he has won seven titles and I've just won my first, even if I want to keep the trophy I got last year for as long as I possibly can'. And his more immediate goal, of course, is to triumph in the German Grand Prix for the first time this weekend.

"It's always great to have the opportunity to race in front of your home crowd, and I'm looking forward to it," he enthused, speaking to the BBC. "People talk about extra pressure, but to be honest, it's more positive than anything else. It has been fairly tight all year, especially in the last three races, and it's difficult to say who will be the strongest here - but we have a good chance. We seem to like the track, and we had good race pace two years ago. At this stage, we are as confident as we can be."

The sport's youngest-ever title-winner added, finally, that he hopes a solution can be found to enable the N?rburgring to retain its slot on the F1 schedule following the local government's warning on the eve of the 2011 race there that in the absence of 'economically and politically acceptable conditions', its essential financial backing will be withdrawn [see separate story - click here].

"It would be a shame if we lost the race," opined Vettel. "The track is great fun, and it means a lot, especially with the history here which is unlike almost anywhere else in the world. I think it brings a lot of good, on the one hand for the people and on the other hand for the wallet."

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