Vettel says of Ricciardo: ‘If he’s quicker than me, I have to accept it’
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  19 Apr 2014   |  11:28 am GMT  |  298 comments

Sebastian Vettel has said that while his third qualifying defeat of the season to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is “not to my liking”, he has to accept that “if he’s quicker than me, he’s quicker, nothing else.”

After losing out to his new team-mate in Australia, where he was dumped out in Q2 as Ricciardo went on to claim a front-row start, and then suffering the same fate in Bahrain, where he again exited qualifying in the second phase, Vettel has again struggled against the Australian here in China.

Despite easing through Q1 and Q2 ahead of Ricciardo, Vettel could not find the extra burst of pace need to seal the deal in the final 10 minutes and Ricciardo surged ahead of his team-mate with his final run to claim second place on the grid, beating Vettel out by just under half a second.

Afterwards, a magnanimous Vettel admitted that Ricciardo currently has the upper hand on merit alone.

“Daniel is doing a very good job, he has not just had one good weekend, he had good weekends and so far he seems to be able to get the maximum out of the car,” said the four-time champion who will line up third for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix. “On my side, maybe I’m struggling a little bit more, but at the end of the day we have the same car, so if he manages to beat me, then he beats me on the circuit, fair and square. Of course, that’s not to my liking but equally, I know that I have to do a little bit better.”

Vettel continued by saying that he feels that improvements made in testing in Bahrain recently have improved his feeling fro the RB10, but he added that there is “a still a long way to go”.

“All in all I’ve felt happier this weekend,” he said. “We’ve made some improvements. The test after Bahrain helped on that front. But there is still a long way to go. Obviously a lot of things have changed but I don’t think that’s the reason for today’s performance. I would have loved to have got a bit more out of the last qualifying (the top 10 shootout) but I think I struggled a bit more than the front two.”

However, asked to detail the areas of the car that he is currently struggling with Vettel was cagey.

“I don’t want to blame anything on the car,” he said. “There are a lot of things that have changed, I don’t need to tell you. The cars are very different, everything underneath the body is very, very different, so I think there is a lot of work to be done to get it back to where I want it.”

Ricciardo, meanwhile, is looking increasingly confident and after landing his second front-row start of the year said that the fact that he has settled into the team quickly has helped his performance.

“I couldn’t have settled into the team any better to be honest, they made me feel at home very quickly and it’s helping me,” he said. “I’m really enjoying the driving and it seems to be showing with the results. I’m really pleased. The team is closing the gap to the front and we’re getting better each race.”

He admitted too that he had struggled in the early part of today’s qualifying session.

“To be honest, I struggled a bit throughout the session, at least personally I didn’t feel like I was getting on top of the conditions,” he said. “But then the last set of inters, right at the end of Q3, we managed to get a bit more out of it and I put a good lap together, so pretty pleased to be on the front row.

“It’s a challenging circuit, especially when a bit of water falls on the track it always makes it more challenging wherever you are,” he added. “And there’s a few places across the track here where there’s a tarmac change and you get quite a big difference in grip through some of these corners – so trying to basically find the right line and the best way to drive around, particularly these trickier parts of the track with tarmac changes, is a bit complex. Took a bit of time to understand that but I think we got it in the end.”

Ricciardo’s growing confidence, his ability to apparently match and outstrip Vettel’s usually impeccable one-lap pace and the champion’s obvious discomfort with the 2014-spec Red Bull add up to perhaps the biggest challenge he has yet faced. When it was later remarked that his body language and demeanour suggested he was somewhat downbeat, Vettel didn’t deny it.

“You know, I’m thinking a lot about the car. There are a lot of things going on in my head, maybe that’s why,” he said. “Formula One has got very complex and as a driver I think we have lost a lot of features, let’s say, and given a lot to the engineers, so it’s not that easy to understand and stay on top of everything. That’s why I think maybe I’m thinking more about the car in the last couple of years.

“Of course I’m not happy,” he concluded.  “I’m not here to finish third in qualifying or second, or behind my team-mate. Generally I’d love to… I’m here to win. As I said before, [Daniel’s] doing good. We have the same car and if he’s quicker than me, he’s quicker, nothing else. Maybe the car is not the way I like 100 per cent but I’m trying to work on that but for now, if the result is like this, I have to accept it.”

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*won a DC. (Need to proof read … and drink less wine over Sunday dinner!)


DR is doing really well. I am surprised. I wonder if it has to do with DR being lighter and shorter than MW. I remember weight and height being a factor in MW’s lack of speed when he was team-mates with SV. Good to see someone challenging SV :). Here is hoping NR wins the DC. I think LH will do it but considering he has already one a DC I’d like to see NR do it. James, can you shed some light on why DR seems to be faster and/or better than SV? Also, how you think it will pan out between the two of them.


I’ve always thought the mark of the true f1 greats is to drive around a car’s problems. Now the trouble with that is to what extent can a driver do that?

Nevertheless, RB have had a feat of aerodynamics in the form of the blown diffuser, stamp on the power earlier when you expect the back to slide but the exhaust gases give you more down force and let you accelerate away mid corner.

Adrian Newey came up with the concept and told Vettel to come up with a driving style that works best with this. Vettel did that beautifully as we have seen these past 4 years.

However now that he has a car without that capability and has to be a little gentle with it…. He seems to have been hampered. Only time will tell how well he adapts and avoid his reputation from being tarnished


If Vettel didnt hold up RIC he might have had a shot at ALO.


The key to Ferrari’s podium was their smart strategy. They simply outsmarted RBR in that regard.


If hes quicker than me i have to accept it.

Really, not in the Chinese GP.


You’ve put in a series of unacceptable posts defaming drivers and other posters. Please take this as a friendly warning to stop that, or your posts will be moderated out



Any way to check RB sales in OZland?


Oh dear, so much Vettel bashing.

No toys were thrown out from the pan IMHO and he’s taking it well. Vettel will be back when he gets into the groove of the new car. What goes up must come down philosophy, that’s life. And he’s bagged 4 WDCs and that’s a feat no matter how we feel.

Impressed with Ric’s performance.


Its beginning to look like the last 4 years were really about having the best car and Webbers limitations making Vettel really look good …. Marko must be pleased 🙂


Lots of anti-Vettel comments and it’s only the 4th race.

Y’all forgot 2010. Didn’t lead the championship until the last race, when it counted.

Reigning champ Alonso was shown up by a young rookie in 2007 but he is still considered the best on the grid at the moment.

Reigning champ Button was beat by previous year’s champ in 2010 but came back strong in 2011 to beat his faster teammate.

Lewis has not finished higher than 4th since his title winning campaign but is now regarded as possibly the best driver today.

Can we not discuss how great a driver is until their career is over? Or at least, the season.


I agree with you foreverf1, too much Vettel bashing. Vettel is a having season like what Fernando Alonso had in 2007. Coming from a back to back championships with Renault, he was challenged by a rookie driver named Lewis Hamilton. Lewis Hamilton even beat Alonso that season. So can we conclude that Hamilton is better than Alonso? Like in other sports, there are good years and bad years in every athlete…so it would be better to compare when their career is over.


Something i have noticed over the years and that is when the car is not “perfect” Vettel gets beaten by his teammate. Webber would constantly out perform Vettel when the RB was struggling at times (normally at the beginning of the season)and it seems to be happening again with Ricciardo this time. Read into it what you can but Vettel struggles when he doesn’t like the car or it’s not working for him while other drivers are able to adapt. Thus the question is asked again: Is Vettel the best driver on the grid or is he only able to win when the car is the best on the grid? Of course this question will contradict itself because that’s what happens majority of the time in F1, the best car wins not the best driver. Food for thought?


The fact this is even a story shows Daniel is definitely turning people’s heads with some great performances. And comes across as such a nice guy. How refreshing to see.


Don’t forget Vettel outpaced Dan in Malaysia, he’s a master of the Pirellis on a hot track. This is exactly the area that Mark conceded he couldn’t match Vettel and arguably the reason he dominated last year. Once they return to Europe I expect the pendulum to swing the other way.


The biggest joke here are some of the Vettel fans whose main topic at the beginning of this season was “how Kimi will crush Alonso” and stuff like that. They never had imagined a title like this one. If I could only see their faces now. 😉


I wonder if Ferrari aren’t already regretting not signing Hulkenberg. What’s your take on this, James?



Perfec. Well said.


Red Bull, I think, are backing Riciardo as Vettel is causing a negative backlash against the brand. Another year of Vettel winning could damage the brand, however if Riciardo wins it’s all positive. I won’t be surprised if we see Vettel struggle all year.


The loss of the exhaust-blown diffuser is the only thing i can think of that would affect Vettel so drastically. Perhaps he requires total confidence in the rear of the car to be able to do best what he does.

While Ricciardo’s come from a 2013 car that was never as glued-down at the rear and so can cope with the 2014 cars much better.


From my point of view the current situation with Vettel vs Ricardo is quite similar to what we had already seen with Schumacher vs Rosberg.

Both Vettel and Schumacher want to improve the car first so they could find themself comfortable and then show what they are really could do.

Yes, obviously Ricciardo and Rosberg could get more from a car that is not really good and have, different weaknesses. But at the same time they could mislead the car’s development vector.

As Rosberg said, in 2013 , his voice became more visible in the team development when Schumaher left.

But just recollect when MS said, in 2012 ,that he had got a car that is somehow quite similar to what he wanted since 2010 (from driving point of view) -> MS was equal with Rosberg in 2012’s classifiation and in the races when both cars finished – he had upper hand vs Rosberg.

Hence, I see the same picture with Vettel and Ricciardo. When Vettel gets from a team what he wants from the car – he will have the upper hand. Until that time we will see Ricciardo first in the classification. As for the races I see some more or less close results but the things will be changed soon.


dont forget – Webber used to trounced Rosberg well and truly at Williams


Rosberg was a rookie then.


Great insight! Actually, take a look back at some of Schumi’s past team mates. They were able to out qualify him near the beginning of the seasons, but couldn’t touch him later in the season (Brundle, Herbert, even Irvine outqualified him at Melbourne ’96). Your post makes great sense.


Wishful thinking IMO. The car clearly has more speed than Vettel can get from it…


vettel will have the last laugh.


nice try sebastian. were not fooled one bit. we all know your furious the rookie is outclassing you. the owner of red bull, helmut marko + vettel made the decision to sign ricciardo to do a webber, and drive around behind being a fly in the ointment to hamilton and alonso. problem is daniel didnt read the script, i thought hed just be a no2 + do as hes told but hes done a number on vettle. lewis is doing great but for me this is the story of f1.


Make no mistake, Ric is no rookie.


There’s no excuses for a 4 time world Champion to be out-qualified in 3 out of 4 races by a new team mate in the team he’s been in for 5 years. Even if the car is not as competitive as it was in previous years, it’s still the second fastest car. As James said this a new test for Vettel in his career, be interesting to see how he deals with it.


There is, if the WDC has no value…

Formula 1 has lost its racing pedigree… any old clown can drive to deltas…

David in Sydney

Will you say the same about RAI being out qualified by ALO so comprehensively?


Got to admit I wasn’t particularly inspired by Red Bull’s choice of Ricciardo last year, but I’m happy to be proved wrong. What a superb start to the season!

Vettel’s experience reminds me – to some degree – of the 2007 season when the Michelin runners from ’06 moved onto the Bridgestones and took some time to get used to the different characteristics. Take nothing away from Ricciardo, though,who’s doing a superb job!


Dan is beating Seb despite the disadvantage of weighing about 10 more kilos than Seb.


Here are the numbers from China:

Vettel 66 kilos

Ricciardo 68 kilos

difference: 2 kilos


Sorry to correct you, but I’m sure Daniel weights 63 KG (exactly 10 stone) and Sebastian weights 58 KG (more or less 9 stone), so there is a 5 KG difference between them, in reality probably only a tenth or two in weight difference once corrected.

Now Mark, that was a different story. Mark struggled to get down to 75Kg, so there was a huge 17 KG difference between Sebastian and Mark weight wise – that’s at least 4 to 5 tenths once corrected.


That’s very interesting. I didn’t know that. That’s another spike in Vettel’s coffin.


The weight thing is over-hyped, just like VET.


This episode doesn’t diminish Vettel as a driver, for me. In my view, he is still in the top class of drivers and one of the very best to ever race. What this episode shows is that Ricciardo is a very quick driver who has shown through the season that he is capable of also being a top driver.

Just because someone gets beat by their newcomer teammate doesn’t mean that he is not a top driver. Hakkinen stepped into the McLaren in 1993 and outqualified Senna in a few outings. What that showed is that Hakkinen was bloody quick, not that he was a better driver than Senna, and that Hakkinen had the potential to be a World Champion. (And indeed, he became one.) I don’t hear many people saying that Alonso isn’t a top driver anymore after Hamilton beat him. Rather, it turned out that Hamilton is also a top driver, and the debate continues as to who you would rather have in your car (a debate that includes Vettel, Raikkonen, and maybe some others).

What Vettel is that Ricciardo isn’t is a four-time world champion. You don’t become a four-time champion in this sport unless you are among the very best. The standard of competition among the drivers is just too high. Every driver goes through periods when the car isn’t working for him, or he has to adapt from something that he was doing behind the wheel that was dominant and is now obsolete. He will be back against Ricciardo, and then the pressure will be on Daniel to respond.


@ paige Hakinnen only out qualified senna once not a few times

in their 3 races together they started and finished as follows

PORTUGAL Senna 4 Hakinnen 3…. Senna ret engine Hakinnen crashed

JAPAN Senna pole Hakinnen 3 …. Senna won Hakinnen 3

AUSTRALIA Senna pole Hakinnen 5 …. Senna won

Hakinnen ret engine


+1 Paige.

Good analogy with Hakkinen and Senna. I know we all have our fav drivers but some of these comments are just crazy.

A driver shows some honesty, I think there should be a lot more in this sport as opposed to the usual excuses, my set up was wrong, balance was off, couldn’t get heat into the tyres, I was blocked, it didn’t feel right etc


I dont see the big deal. Seb is a 4 time world champion and has nothing to prove to no one. If DR is getting the better of him in qualifying, good for him. Seb will eventually come out on top though, he is a 4 time world champion and one of the best drivers in F1 history. The media needs to get another story to stir things up.


This is what happen when a good driver wins 4 titles with a rocket and is overhyped by the media. The truth always surfaces.

The same can be said about Kimi, a good driver that has one title thanks to Mclaren doing a bad job managing 2007.


If Ricciardo beats Vettel over the season, Vettel’s reputation and Webber’s, will take a real beating. Like some of the drivers were saying last year, anyone could have been world champion in a Red Bull.


“Like some of the drivers were saying last year, anyone could have been world champion in a Red Bull”

I’d love to see a source that quotes a driver saying that…

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