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Vettel: No problem with Raikkonen as teammate

NEWS STORY
26/06/2013

Speaking ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he wouldn't have an issue with Kimi Raikkonen joining him as teammate.

Currently on a year-by-year deal, it is widely expected that Mark Webber will leave the Milton Keynes outfit at season end. While the relationship between the Australian and his German teammate has always been difficult, things took a distinct turn for the worse in Malaysia when Vettel ignored team orders (Multi 21) and overtook his teammate to take victory.

While some sections of the media insist Webber will remain with Red Bull, the rest of us wonder who might join Vettel at a team that has essentially been built around the German youngster.

Speaking to reporters in London, Vettel and team boss Christian Horner admitted that The Iceman is under consideration.

"I think nobody could have a problem with Kimi as team-mate, except for Perez," joked the German, a reference to the incident in Monaco which saw the Mexican collide with the Finn after which Raikkonen suggested the McLaren driver needed a "punch in the face".

When asked if he would have input when it came to choosing his teammate, the German replied: "I could try and have a word, but it's not my decision.

"I've been racing with Mark now for a long time, five years," he added. "We've done pretty well, so it's always difficult to imagine what happens if things change.

"At the end of the day you want to challenge yourself," he admitted. "I want to be sat on the grid, nervous, excited to start, to find out who is the best on that day. In a way you hate it because you don't know what's going to happen, but in a way you love it as well because that is the challenge you face. It's the same in any sport.

"Wimbledon has just started. If you could just put the easiest player with one of the favourites in all the rounds and then an easy player in the final, it's not the same Wimbledon crown as playing five hours in the final, five sets, against the world Number One. And therefore I wouldn't mind who comes in. I respect all the drivers, and I certainly respect Kimi. I get along quite well with him. He doesn't talk a lot, but it's the same for all of us!"

Asked about the situation with Webber, he admitted: "I'm not really keen on rolling up what happened in Malaysia. I respected Mark a lot before that and I still respect him. On a personal level I think there is a lot of hype produced just because neither of us has problems speaking out that we get along but that surely we are not best friends. What people make of that is 'a horrible relationship, disaster for the team'. But we never had a fight and we have never screamed at each other. We always treat each other with respect.

"Certainly it's not easy to beat him," he admitted. "And much as I respect Fernando and Lewis I can only judge them from far away because they are with different teams. I can judge Mark much better because I know what he's doing. I know his strengths and weaknesses, and he knows mine.

"Certainly he's not easy. I think he is very quick. He has certain very, very strong areas where I am struggling to match him and to beat him.

"If you have the opinion you are the best and nobody is able to match you, that's the beginning of the end. I think there will always be someone, in some circumstances, who will be able to match you and beat you. And I'm not trying to find who is the ultimate best driver in Formula One history. I'm not really looking for an answer to that."

For his part, Horner was giving little away. "We're in the fortunate position that there are an awful lot of people who would like to drive a Red Bull," he said. "How much longer Mark wants to go on is a question only he can answer, but from our perspective we will only change our drivers for something better than we currently have. Kimi would have to be an option."

As to the relationship between his current drivers, he admitted: "There is a professional relationship but there's nothing beyond that between them. They both know what they're employed by the team to do and there are no pretences.

"Our focus has always been based on what they're doing in the car," he added. "Red Bull is a great environment for any driver, perhaps a bit more relaxed than some of the more corporate teams. Our focus is to get the best out of them as drivers and athletes and not bog them down with other clutter."

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