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Vettel plays down role in Webber exit

WEBBER-PUSHEDSILVERSTONE, England, June 28 – Sebastian Vettel did his best on Thursday to minimise any negative influence he may have had on Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber’s decision to quit Formula One.

The 25-year-old German said he did not believe his disobeying team orders and “steal” victory from the 36-year-old Australian at the Malaysian Grand Prix in March was a factor.

He said: “I think we’ve probably had enough talks about Malaysia. I think both of us were not happy with what happened but I don’t think that these sorts of things change the world from today until tomorrow.

“I think equally we had different opinions three years ago in Turkey [where they collided] and we had a successful time after that.”

The defending triple world champion added that he felt he had a better relationship with Webber than reported.

“I have enormous respect for him on the track as a driver,” Vettel insisted. “I think off track, a lot of it has been hyped more than it should have because there hasn’t been that much going on.

“As a fact we are not best friends and probably never will be. That was reason enough for you [the media] to get excited in the past but it is not a reason for us to try and change it all costs.”

He added that it will feel odd to have a new team-mate next year.

“When you move on to the next year knowing what to expect you don’t really think about it,” he said.

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“But now we are in a little bit of a different position.

“I would not say you are afraid, but it is unknown. Surely whoever comes in is new to the team in a way, so it will be difficult to know what to expect.

“So in that regard, it is much easier when you know who is racing with you, and the team knows who the drivers are for next season.”

He said he had a good relationship with Finn Kimi Raikkonen the popular early favourite to succeed Webber at Red Bull.

“Yes,” he said. “I’m sure he will answer in the same way with less words, but I think we get along.”

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