Sebastian Vettel does not expect Kimi Raikkonen to play a supporting role in his title campaign, saying he is happy for his Ferrari teammate to challenge him for position on track.
Vettel’s championship challenge took a significant hit at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after a first lap collision with title rival Lewis Hamilton saw the Ferrari driver drop down the order while Hamilton went on to win the race. The result extended Hamilton’s margin over Vettel to 30 points with just seven laps remaining, putting the Ferrari driver under pressure ahead of next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Although Vettel’s first lap spin was a result of his contact with Hamilton, he was put in a vulnerable position after fighting for the lead of the race with Raikkonen through the first two corners. The robust defence by Raikkonen led to suggestions that Vettel is fighting against his teammate and the two Mercedes drivers for the title while Hamilton can rely on the support of his teammate Valtteri Bottas and only has to worry about the Ferraris.
When it was put to Vettel that he was racing against three cars and Hamilton just two, he said there was no expectation on Raikkonen to support him in races.
“I can see the questions coming up, but for me I’m quite happy to fight three cars,” he said. “I’m happy to fight all 19 cars, I have never been in a different position to that.
“That’s fine, I don’t expect anything different to that.”
Vettel said there was no need for him to sit down with his teammate and discuss the events of the first lap at Monza.
“I don’t think we need to go through the start, that is probably more of a question for the team. For me, I am doing my job and I’m prepared to race everybody. As I said, I was trying to use my chances in the first corner and a little bit in the second chicane but it didn’t work.
“I think then it was a bit unfortunate with how things turned out and I turned around. I think everybody is free to have whatever approach they want, but for us it is pretty clear and straightforward.”