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Coulthard: Pressure on Vettel, not Ricciardo

4 February 2014

David Coulthard believes the pressure at Red Bull is on Sebastian Vettel and not his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo has stepped up from junior team Toro Rosso over the winter, following the path that Vettel took when he moved to Red Bull in 2009. However, despite Ricciardo having yet to prove himself at the front of the grid, Coulthard – who raced for Red Bull from 2005-2008 – believes it's Vettel who has to deliver.

“[Ricciardo] has had a great rise up to the point of driving for the world championship-winning team,” Coulthard told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It's better to be up against the best guy statistically over the past four years than to be in the mid-grid beating your team-mate, because ultimately this is about trying to win grands prix. He's got a much better chance of doing that with Red Bull Racing than he was going to have with Toro Rosso.

“The expectation will be that Sebastian, as a four-time world champion, will be the team leader, so it's all there for Daniel to play for. If he matches him, people will say 'well, he's really got some pace'; if he beats him, then people are going to really sit up and take notice. So I think the pressure is off Daniel in many respects.”

One area Coulthard feels Ricciardo needs to be ready to change is in his personal approach to aspects around racing, with scrutiny likely to increase now he's at the reigning constructors' champions.

''I think it's inevitable that there'll be changes in the way he engages with the public and media and the team as he develops. It's impossible in life not to change, and if you're not changing, you're not getting experience and being able to make better decisions. There's going to be a lot more demands on his time, especially making his season debut in Melbourne.

“He's an approachable, smiley character, and if he hasn't done so already, I think he'll really connect with the Australian people. But everyone has to remember that he's there to do a job. If he's outside signing thousands of autographs and Vettel's hidden away in the back of his engineering debrief looking at ways to make the car go faster, you can see which one is going to have the better opportunity.”


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