Sebastian Vettel insists that his run of three championship titles hasn't come easy and has predicted that Daniel Ricciardo will prove to be a strong challenger in 2014.
The German has won the championship crown for the past three years and is well placed to take the title for a fourth straight year having established a lead of 53 points with seven races left to run.
Speaking ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend, Vettel was quizzed about Ferrari's new look line-up featuring two world champions and responded by insisting that hadn't had it easy against his own partner in Mark Webber.
The German also insisted that things wouldn't get easier when Daniel Ricciardo steps up to replace his countryman next year.
"Next year I'm sharing the team with Daniel,” he said. “If he wins the championship then I will look pretty stupid, but equally he will then deserves to win. The year after that would mean I'd be racing with a world champion in the team.
“Daniel is the right choice for us and it is a great message to young drivers that we have given Daniel the chance. Next year there will be a lot of new things but I think we should be a strong team. That's really what matters, but there are always theories that because you raced him or raced against someone else, that you will be better or worse.
“You can't please all these theories no matter who is working alongside you. I've had very tough competition with Mark and still have that competition. I think it's often been closer than it has looked from the outside. I don't think I've had it easy and I won't have it easy in the future.”
Vettel also responded to those fans who have become frustrated by his run of success, arguing that it was important for people to remember the work that has gone into putting him at he front of the field.
"You learn to deal with the situation,” he said when asked about the fact that some fans have booed him this season. “Our fan base is bigger than it was a few years ago and it works both ways. There are some people who are tired of Red Bull winning, but we are not, and we know there is no guarantee we will keep winning. We arrive here and we know we have a strong package, but we will have to work hard to be at the front and finish in a good position on the podium.
“Even though from the outside, you can say we are on the podium all the time and won so many races, every race was a new challenge and that's important that you remember; how much hard work it was to get there in the first place."