Vettel On Räikkönen’s Departure: “It’s A Bit Sad To See Kimi Go”

Sebastian Vettel - Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Sebastian Vettel is happy for Charles Leclerc to get his chance on joining Scuderia Ferrari next year, but feels ‘a bit sad’ to see Kimi Räikkönen depart from the team.

Formula 1 heads to the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, as the sport starts the final third of the season.

Vettel is currently 30 points away from title rival Lewis Hamilton in the championship, after he claimed victory on Ferrari’s home turf in Italy whilst Vettel had to recover to finish fourth place, following a clash with Hamilton at the start.

Singapore is hailed as one of the most challenging tracks due to the intense heat and physicality required for the circuit. Vettel says that it’s one of the races you are never prepared for, but is excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

“It’s different from any other race in Asia, also because we stay on European time and rhythms and it’s one of the toughest races of the year, both mentally and physically,” said Vettel.

The climate is hot and humid, and it’s important that you get here well rested and healthy. It’s one of those Grands Prix where you feel you are never prepared enough, but then you can’t wait for the weekend to start as you relish the challenge”.

Leading up to the Grand Prix was the news that Ferrari will bring in Leclerc for next season, with Räikkönen going to Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for two years.

Vettel and Räikkönen have been close friends and their relationship grew stronger when they partnered together in 2015, but their double act will end after Abu Dhabi as the Monegasque driver will enter the Italian team in only his second year in Formula 1.

The German is happy for Leclerc to be joining the team for 2019, but admits that he feels a bit sad that his friend and current team-mate Räikkönen will depart from the team. Despite this, he insist that the focus is on the next race instead of next year.

“It’s a big change obviously, but I am more focused on the next race than I am on next year,” Vettel continued.

“I see there’s a big opportunity for Charles and I am happy about that, but on the other hand, it’s a bit sad to see Kimi go, because we get along together well, although we’re different.

“Having said that, I don’t think that will change our perspective till the end of the year; we have a great deal of respect for each other and we’ll keep the focus on the championship”.