RESULTS: Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying results
Sebastian Vettel has played down suggestions he is coming under increasing pressure to produce results from Ferrari team manager Maurizio Arrivabene.
The four-time world champion was responding to an interview given by Arrivabene to Italian television in which he stated Vettel would have to 'earn' a new deal beyond 2017
and that discussions about a contract extension will not take place before next year.
Seen by many as a nod towards Vettel's indifferent 2016 season, which has seen him become embroiled in a number of incidents and struggle to comprehensively out-perform Kimi Raikkonen as he did in 2015, the German was nonetheless unconcerned by the reports, saying there is no rift between himself and Arrivabene.
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“I enjoy a very, very straightforward and honest relationship. I think as much as the team wants to perform I want to perform. I had races this year where I didn't do so, I wasn't happy with myself because there was more on the table but it's been an up and down year. In the end I think the results we had were not always fair and rewarding given the pace that we showed on different weekends but sometimes it's like this.
“I think if there's something I don't like I'll tell him [Maurizio] and equally the other way around. I know that there's nothing between us, nothing that we need to sort out, and both our focuses - his and mine - are trying to achieve the same thing. We're trying to win races, get stronger - especially in the future - and that's I think where the main focus goes. So I don't know what sort of context [he said it in].”
Starting seventh on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix following a three-place penalty for tipping Nico Rosberg into a spin at the start of last week's Malaysian Grand Prix, Vettel says he is focused on getting back to consistent form and not worrying about his future.
“I think the main focus is as a team to try and make progress to the end of this year. Obviously we carry everything we can learn this year still into next year, even though the rules are changing there's still a lot of things that we learn about this year's car in general which will also help us next year.”
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