Ricciardo praises ‘very honest and genuine’ Vettel
Daniel Ricciardo has paid tribute to his former Red Bull Racing team mate Sebastian Vettel, praising the four-time world champion as a “good sportsman”.
The pair raced alongside each other in the 2014 season after Ricciardo took over the race seat formerly occupied by his compatriot Mark Webber.
Although Vettel departed for Ferrari at the end of the year there didn’t appear to be any rancour between the two drivers while they were working side-by-side at Milton Keynes, and Ricciardo has been speaking warmly of Vettel this week.
“He was always – as he is – very competitive and ruthless,” Ricciardo recalled when asked about his memories of working with Vettel during an Instagram Live interview organised by Formula 1.
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“I obviously respected him from the start, but I think we had respect for each other, and that was cool.”
“Off the track he always shook my hand and congratulated me,” Ricciardo continued. “It seemed that not only was he a good sportsman to me, but he seemed very honest and genuine.
“He does things a little bit old school, but I respect that path as well. He is not really influenced by too much. He has his ways and he stands by them.”
Ricciardo acknowledged that 2014 had been a tough year for Vettel, who after four years of championship success was suddenly up against unbeatable opposition from Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
“[It was] a difficult year by his standards, particularly coming off four in a row,” Ricciardo agreed.
Vettel’s move to Maranello yielded no further title successes, and he will now split with Ferrari at the end of the current season – and possibly leave F1 altogether.
For his part, Ricciardo departed Red Bull at the end of 2018 for a frustrating two-year stint at Renault, and next season will transfer to McLaren.
Understandably after an unprecedented seven-month lay-off from racing, Ricciardo says he can’t wait to get back to competitive action.
“I’ve missed racing more than ever,” he said. “Missed competing, missed the limelight, all the stuff that goes with it. I’ve missed it all.
“It was, in a way, nice to be forced to stop for our bodies – not being in pressurised cabins all the time and all of that kind of stuff,” he acknowledged.
“We travel so much and you go, and you go, and you go, but sometimes you don’t really get a chance to stop
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“So it was nice to have some alone time, time to think and process. It’s certainly fuelled my desire more,” he continued. “Not that I’ve lost love for it at all, it’s just reiterated my love for competing in the sport and my job.
“If anything it’s more fuel to the fire,” he said. “From a performance point of view it’s maybe given me a couple more years on to my career, so I see positives in it.”
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