Sebastian Vettel says he has “enormous respect” for Mark Webber as the often feuding Red Bull duo attempt to bury the hatchet before the Australian finally quits Formula One.
Webber, who is to compete in Porsche’s sportscar program from next season, remarked of Vettel that the four-times world champion was “in another category” following his seventh successive win in Abu Dhabi.
With the frost thawing a little between the two, although not enough that they will ever be on each other’s Christmas card list, Vettel has responded in kind.
It is all a far cry from the bad blood that has existed over the previous five years they have been team-mates, resulting in on-track feuds, with the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix and Malaysia this year the low points of their relationship.
With just two grands prix remaining before Webber bids farewell, with the Us this weekend and Brazil next, Vettel said: “We’ve always had respect on the track when we’ve been fighting each other.
“I don’t think we’ve lacked respect. We’ve respected each other inside the car and the other’s abilities.
He says as teammates, they’ve got to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that he has enormous respect for Webber.
“Being honest, if you look back, we’ve not had the best relationship on a personal level,” he said.
“But at the end of the day we’ve been very successful for the team, winning four constructors’ championships in a row, always scoring enough points for the team.”
In terms of Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, a venue that proved an enormous hit on its debut last year, Vettel can set yet another record.
Another victory will be his eighth in succession and surpass Michael Schumacher’s 2004 mark for consecutive wins in a season.