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Vettel "sad" to lose Raikkonen as his teammate

NEWS STORY
14/09/2018

Over the four seasons they've worked together, Sebastian Vettel has made no secret of his ease in working with Kimi Raikkonen, the two clearly enjoying a relationship that few other current teammates can admit to.

Though he has always made it clear that he has no say in the matter, Vettel always admitted that he would prefer to have the Finn as his partner again in 2019, on Tuesday however, it became clear that Ferrari has other plans.

As a result, at season end, The Iceman will return to Sauber, with whom he made his controversial F1 debut, while Vettel will be joined by Charles Leclerc.

Asked if Raikkonen was his best ever teammate, Vettel, who had previously worked with Nick Heidfeld, Tonio Liuzzi, Sebastien Bourdais, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo, was in no doubt. "Yeah, absolutely," he replied.

"Obviously one thing you can express in numbers and results and so on," he continued, "but I think that's not the most important thing. I think the most important thing if you are teammates is the respect that you have for each other, or the degree of bullshit going on between each other, and with Kimi it has been zero from the start, and I don't think it will change until the end.

"Obviously it's a great chance for Charles," he added, "but also it's sad to know that Kimi is not there anymore because I think we get along even though we are different. As I said, we have this mutual respect for each other."

Asked if believes the team will change with Leclerc's arrival, the German claimed he hadn't really thought about it.

"Obviously it's always a change," he said, "but to be honest right now nothing changes. I'm more focused on the next races rather than next year.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity for him," he added. "He's been in the junior programme of the team for a long time, so it's good to see there's progression.

"I'm not thinking about that at all, so I have no thoughts. It's always going to be different. Everybody is different, so for sure there will be a different dynamic and so on, but I think he's a good kid and I hope that he integrates well. I'm sure everybody is willing to help."

However, when asked about Leclerc's youth, Vettel, who himself held a number of 'youngest F1 driver ever' records until a certain Max Verstappen arrived on the scene, was in no doubt.

"If you are fast and talented then the age doesn't matter," he said. "You can be fast and talented also when you are old on paper. I think Kimi is probably the best example, so you have two good examples. Age, I think, is not relevant. I think he deserves to be in F1, and as I said before it's great that he gets the opportunity to race in a big team, and then we'll see. We'll do our best to work on him, we want to work together as a team. But for now it's not that important, it's more important for next year."

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