Vettel: Webber deserved pole position

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Sebastian Vettel has said that teammate Mark Webber deserved pole position for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the German driver is still disappointed to have missed out on his eighth pole of the season at Yas Marina Circuit.

The German driver appeared to be untouchable during practice and the early parts of qualifying, laying down a pace that his rivals could not match. Despite doing enough to have provisional pole ahead of the final runs, Vettel could not respond to his teammate’s fine final lap that saw Webber secure his second pole position in the last three races. However, Vettel is not certain he could have bettered his teammate’s time.

“I think I did a very good lap so congratulations to him [Webber],” Vettel said. “I think I should have done a little bit better but I don’t know if it had been enough.

“As a fact he deserved to be on pole today. He did a good job, no mistakes. As I said, on top of that, a great result for the team. We should have a strong race tomorrow.”

Vettel cited a mistake at turn one as being his downfall, admitting that he pushed too hard and lost time as a result.

“I was pushing hard, that’s the reason behind it,” he said. “Surely, I think, as a driver, you always argue that there is a little bit here, a little bit there but the bottom line is that if you look at it from the outside as well, if you push yourself to the maximum trying to get everything out then you do mistakes as well.

“I’m not very proud of that but I did what I could today and it wasn’t enough to be on pole and that’s why I said it before and I’ll say it again – Mark deserved to be on pole, no doubt.”

Vettel heads into tomorrow’s race bidding to equal Michael Schumacher’s feat of seven consecutive race wins, with Alberto Ascari’s long standing record of nine victories in a row well within the German driver’s reach.

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.