Webber in fresh row with Pirelli over tires

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Mark Webber has blasted Pirelli’s Formula One tires again after Sergio Perez suffered a tire explosion during the Korean Grand Prix.

Webber was following Perez at the time and picked up tire damage himself by running through the debris.

“That is how it is,” said Webber to The Telegraph after the race. “The drivers aren’t super important – it is what other people want.”

“The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit. But that is for Pirelli to sort out.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery responded to Webber’s latest complaints, saying: “There are two issues here that Mark is conflating.”

“Firstly the situation with Sergio’s tire. It was nothing to do with delaminations earlier in the season. He had a major lock-up and flat-spotted.”

“The other issue about degradation is the same old story.”

Fernando Alonso also complained about Pirelli’s tires during the weekend, leading to a stinging response from Hembery in which he told Alonso to consult the “soon to be four-times-champion” Sebastian Vettel on how to get the best out of the rubber. Hembery later apologized for his remarks.

Hembery said Perez’s failure was no cause for concern: “We have been able to determine very quickly that it was the result of a flat spot caused by a lock-up under heavy braking.”

“We’re obviously on exactly the same construction as we raced here last year, so there’s no underlying problem, while flat spots or punctures have just always been an integral part of racing.”

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”