Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel has explained how you don’t have to be best friends with your team-mate, amid unrelenting speculation regarding his eventual team-mate next season. With Mark Webber leaving the sport at the end of the year, both Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo have been strongly linked to his vacancy.
During their time at Red Bull, the relationship between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber has degraded somewhat, with the debacle in Malaysia proving the braking point the duo’s relationship within the team. Although Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are good friends within the paddock, recent rumors have indicated that Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo could be in the driving seat to replace fellow countryman Mark Webber. Although Red Bull seems currently built around Sebastian Vettel, the German sensation has insisted the only characteristics he is interested in as a team-mate is the ability to work as a team, and not necessarily become best friends.
“At the end of the day I think it doesn’t really matter too much.” Explained Sebastian Vettel, when asked about ideal characteristics of a team-mate. “I think ideally you would like someone who is competitive, as competitive as you are, so that we are pushing each other. You don’t have to be best friends with whoever is racing next to you. At the end of the day you have to work for the team. I think that’s one of the most important bits, so you work in the same direction and hopefully ensure that the car gets faster, you pull in the same direction in terms of car development. I think that’s the most important thing. Whether you like each or not is not that important. If it’s the case, then probably it’s a bonus, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.”
Many within the paddock were understandably dubious as to whether the combination of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen would work for Red Bull, with both drivers undeniably eager to secure race victories and unlikely to follow team orders. However, the Finn has been incredibly consistent since his return to the sport, finishing within the points at every race since China last year. Despite this tremendous run of form from Kimi Raikkonen, overlooking both Toro Rosso drivers would create serious question marks over the existence of a Red Bull junior team.
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