Ricciardo: Pressure is on Vettel, I’m just a young driver so no one expects me to beat him

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel during the Abu Dhabi GO weekend

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel during the Abu Dhabi GP weekend

Red Bull bound Daniel Ricciardo might be forgiven if his excitement is tempered by nerves as the last few races of the 2013 F1 World Championship season play out.

On the one hand, the 24-year-old Australian is about to depart perennial midfielders Toro Rosso to join Formula 1’s dominant team and reigning four time world champions.

But on the other hand, his Red Bull teammate will be none other than Sebastian Vettel, the indomitable German who according to many paddock insiders has raced into Formula 1 greatness this year alongside legends like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

On Saturday in Abu Dhabi, however – the first qualifying session since Vettel wrapped up his fourth title – Vettel was outpaced by his retiring teammate Mark Webber, who started the Abu Dhabi race from pole.

Ricciardo is taking countryman Webber’s place for 2014.

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will be teammates next year

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will be teammates next year

“Something like that,” said Ricciardo, referring to Vettel’s qualifying defeat, “shows that [Vettel] is human.

“Sebastian has always been very strong here, so I think Mark was very happy with that [lap] and it gives me a little hope for the coming year,” he is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace.

Ricciardo is understandbly spending his last three races with Toro Rosso with a watchful eye over proceedings at the senior team, and his on-form 2014 teammate.

“[Vettel] is in the form of his life,” he admitted to Welt am Sonntag. “I don’t see a single weakness.

“Maybe I should put something in his food,” the Perth-born racer joked, flashing his characteristic grin.

Ricciardo insisted, however, that he does not fear the prospect of going head-to-head with Vettel next year.

Daniel Ricciardo got the nod to move the Red Bull over Jean Eric Vergne

Daniel Ricciardo got the nod to move the Red Bull over Jean Eric Vergne

“I think that as a four-time World Champion, Sebastian has a lot more pressure than I do,” he said. “I am just a young driver so no one expects that I will beat him.”

Perhaps, however, he fears becoming a second incarnation of Webber, who after coming close to beating Vettel to the title in 2010 has since been utterly beaten by the successful German.

Some even believe in a ‘conspiracy’ at the energy drink-owned team, with Vettel getting preferential treatment and equipment. Undoubtedly, the relationship between Vettel and Webber has not been a friendly one.

“Everything that happened between Mark and Sebastian,” Ricciardo insisted, “has nothing to do with me and nothing to do with next year.”

He told Kleine Zeitung newspaper that nothing in his new contract makes him a ‘number 2′ driver.

Indeed, he said both his and Vettel’s deal includes a clause which says that one driver must support the other if out of the fight for the title.

Theoretically, then, Vettel might have to ride shotgun for Ricciardo.

The Australian laughed: “Yes. If that’s the case, it means [that] I’ve had a very nice season! Obviously, I know that is being very optimistic.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Mr. A

    Very bad attitude

  • Alonso_Is_Slow

    Very good attitude. Nice to see a humble redbull driver.

  • captain tortuga

    Way to go Daniel.

    You just established yourself in the category of Webber’s/Barrichello’s/Massa’s etc.

    But at least it is nice of RedBull to give you a chance of winning a few races.

  • hillside

    too early for excuses. the season is about to end try that again next year.

  • Ukwhite

    Wrong mates, that is an attitude of a nice and confident chap. No doubt Vettel’s life will be tougher with Daniel, racing wise.

  • Snowman

    How anyone can say Ricciardo has a bad attitude is beyond me.

  • spoofer

    I seriously doubt that Riccardo expects to be anywhere near Vettel, and I seriously doubt that Vettel will be the least concerned about Riccardo.

  • Angela

    How can some people here say Ricciardo will be the next Massa/Barrichello/Webber really baffles me!

    What did you expect him to say? “Oh, yes, I am sure I’ll be better than Vettel and I will challenge him and be his worst nightmare etc.”…

    He comes across as a down-to-earth, modest and humorous guy, who knows what the team and the people expect of him and what are the realistic plans to make based on his performance so far and the reputation and abilities of his teammate next year!

    He sure hasn’t been as good as Vettel was in a Toro Rosso, but the team chose him because they think he’ll be good for them. Of course, the fact that he’s nothing like Webber and will perhaps not cause trouble to Vettel was a factor, but I genuinely hope he’ll be good!

  • Spartacus

    Pressure is on Kettle IF you’re able to put pressure on him, Danny boy. If you’re lapping half a sec slower per lap, I doubt Kettle will feel any bit of pressure at all.

  • bobw

    “Some even believe in a ‘conspiracy’ at the energy drink-owned team, with Vettel getting preferential treatment and equipment.” Just who the hell is “Some”? Are they the same people who think the author had to throw that in as red meat for the haters? I noticed the author doesn’t even have the balls to include a By Line so the world knows he practices such trash journalism!

  • Boycotthehaters

    ”I am just a young driver”

    He’s actually just two years younger than Vettel. When SV was DR’s age he already had two WDC’s to his credit, and had been runner up once.

  • Boycotthehaters

    “Just who the hell is “Some”?”

    “Some” is the journalistic way of saying “me and my clueless buddies in the press room”.

  • Alonso_Is_Slow

    Vettel is clear number1.

    We saw that in 2010.

    We saw it this year when he disobeys clear orders and is protevted and kissed and cuddled by marko.

    He is team leader and rightly so.

  • Bob Wheeler

    Team orders should still be illegal. Nobody should be handed a win.

  • Boycotthehaters

    “We saw it this year when he disobeys clear orders and is protevted and kissed and cuddled by marko.”

    You’re such a jackass. Webber has repeatedly disobeyed team orders and and been “protevted and kissed and cuddled by marko”. Try to pay attention.

  • ZombieJebus

    I can’t wait to hear New Webber’s excuses next season, lol.

  • Ukwhite

    You sure have not seen the dark side of Webber. The same thing about Daniel as being a honest, friendly and a sheer competitive driver. Wait and see, RB will be a better team without Webber. With a good engine the two of them Seb and Daniel will shatter the others into pieces.

  • AUB

    UKWHITE – They already shattered the other teams for the past 4 years in the Vettel-Webber combo. I dont believe there is a constant prefferential treatment in equipment – both drivers are very close constantly. You should compare it with Mercedes and Ferrari times where also team mates flip time gaps all the time, and seriously 0.2 seconds of the pace is nothing! Someone with lots of racing knowledge wrote that Vettel is just a driver that uses the tools he has on hand to the fullest, whereas Webber had confirmed on many occassions that you cant learn an old dog many new tricks. Its exactly that and the change to the new era of engines and usage of racing assisted equipment in the cars that Webber timed his goodbye perfectly. Newey also added that Webber has brought great response to all development matters and i am sure Vettel also did and it brought out the best in the team. That Vettel held the upperhand is because he just has this ability to utilise the tools he has been given better by about 0.2 seconds on occassion. I think that Ricciardo will be just fine, he is been given time to adapt and i just hope that they both keep bringing the best out of RB.