Sebastian Vettel laughs off Ferrari rumors

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has laughed off stories linking him with a move to Ferrari, and has insisted that he remains committed to Red Bull despite Adrian Newey’s plans to take a step back.

Newey has been the brain behind Red Bull’s success over the past four years, designing all of Vettel’s championship winning cars. However, it was confirmed in Canada that his role will change as of next season, and will be involved in more projects external to the F1 team.

Nevertheless, Vettel remains as committed as ever to Red Bull, even after a tricky start to the season.

“Ha, these kinds of rumors come up once a year, so I am never surprised when it is Ferrari rumor time again,” he joked when talking to the official Formula 1 website.

“I have known Adrian now for quite some years. We’ve had fantastic victories together, and I know he loves motor racing so much that he will always be around. I really can’t see him doing something else to be honest.”

So far this year, Vettel has struggled to live up to his own lofty expectations after four straight championship victories. The RB10 car has not been entirely to his liking, so much so that new teammate Daniel Ricciardo has had the upper hand at Red Bull in 2014.

“Well, it is no secret that the year so far wasn’t the smoothest for me,” Vettel explained. “We had a lot of difficulties to overcome, but when you look at where we were in winter testing then we have made a fantastic step forward.

“Looking at the whole situation I have to say that he wasn’t giving me a harder time than I used to have with other team mates. Of course, if you look at the results it is correct to say that he has been in front most of the time – and in previous years I was in front of Mark [Webber] – but from that you cannot draw any conclusions as every race is a different story.

“There are always two sides of a story. He [Daniel] is doing a good job. I do not doubt that. He has had the ability to get the maximum out of the car since race one – and on my side, well, we had a couple of things to overcome, so it is good that the other half is doing well.”

Yesterday on MotorSportsTalk, we looked at the story behind Vettel’s tame title defence, highlighting the problems that have dashed his hopes of a fifth straight world championship in 2014.

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup