5 June 2014
F1 Canadian Grand Prix: Vettel: You shouldn’t be at war with your team-mate….
With harmony now at Red Bull, F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel offers relationship counselling for Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Sebastian Vettel did not enjoy the best of relationships with former Red Bull colleague Mark Webber, but insists that it is not good for drivers in the same squad to be antagonistic towards one another.
The four-time world champion, who is now partnered by another Australian, Daniel Ricciardo, in the Red Bull line-up, was offering his response to the simmering tension at current F1 frontrunner Mercedes where, despite claims to the contrary, the partnership between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg appears to be on a knife-edge.
While the two 2014 racewinners have yet to come to blows on the track, Vettel and Webber had more than one run-in before the Aussie left to resurrect his sportscar career with Porsche, and the German admits that there is a fine line to tread.
“I think you shouldn't be at war with your team-mate as it hurts the team atmosphere,” he claimed, “but also you don't have to be best friends...”
While his own relationship with Ricciardo seems to been on a good footing after six races of the 2014 campaign, Vettel is quick to see opportunity in the Mercedes rift – even if he admits that it is unlikely to help his own title chances in the long run.
“Obviously, if [Hamilton and Rosberg] hit each other, it will be good for us as they will take points off themselves if they take themselves out, but they are clever enough not to, so you can't rely on that,” he commented, “And, with that many races to go, I don't think it makes that big a difference if there is one race where they take each other out.”
Despite that, he refuses to discount his own ambitions, with a fifth successive crown still a possibility given the unique structure of this year's scoring system.
“At the moment, they have quite a big lead, but there is a long way to go and there are double points at the last race, so who knows?” he said, allowing himself a slight smile, “We just have to look out for ourselves, go race by race and soon enough [the media] will be kind enough to remind us where we are...”
Despite many writing his off before his move from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, Ricciardo has acquitted himself well alongside Vettel, and the Australian's form has yet to draw the ire of his more-established team-mate.
“It's a positive surprise,” he insisted, “It is good to see that he is getting along well with the team. He fits in and I think we have similar preferences for the car. In terms of set-up, there is not much difference in what we are running.
“It's good to see that he is doing a good job – obviously, I have been struggling a little bit over the first few races with a number of different things, but it's good to see that the other half [of the team] is doing well as it shows the potential of the car.
“If I look at myself, it hasn't been the smoothest year, but that's how it goes sometimes. Obviously, [Ricciardo] has been fairly quick [and] it's good to have a reference to show what the car can do.”
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