Phillip Horton  |    |   0  |  13 September 2018

Vettel: 'Sad' at Raikkonen exit, 'big opportunity' for Leclerc

Sebastian Vettel says he will be “sad” to see Kimi Raikkonen leave as his Ferrari team-mate at the end of the current Formula 1 season.

Vettel and Raikkonen enjoyed a healthy off-track relationship in Formula 1 that continued when the four-time World Champion joined the Finn at Ferrari in 2015.

Vettel has spearheaded Ferrari’s challenge during their four years as team-mates, but that will not be extended into a fifth campaign, with Charles Leclerc replacing Raikkonen.

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

“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.”

Vettel is the most successful driver in the history of the Singapore Grand Prix, taking four pole positions and four wins, having finished in the points for nine straight years.

But last season his prospects ended in dramatic fashion when he collided with Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen off the line.

“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,” Vettel said of Singapore.

“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.”

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