Schu­macher praises Vet­tel; crit­i­cises ‘shock­ing’ Red Bull team­mate Web­ber

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

SEVEN- TIME world cham­pion Michael Schu­macher has hailed Sebastian Vet­tel’s record- break­ing For­mula One sea­son and said the gulf be­tween his fel­low Ger­man and his Red Bull team­mate Mark Web­ber had been “shock­ing”.

Vet­tel ended the year as the first driver to win nine races in a row in a sin­gle sea­son. His to­tal of 13 for the cham­pi­onship equalled Schu­macher’s record 2004 haul with Fer­rari.

“He won all those races, 13 this year; Mark Web­ber, he won none. That is pretty shock­ing,” Schu­macher said yes­ter­day. “I’m glad I’m not his (Vet­tel’s) team­mate.”

Web­ber de­parted For­mula One at the end of the sea­son to join Porsche in en­durance rac­ing, with Aus­tralian com­pa­triot Daniel Ric­cia­rdo re­plac­ing him.

Schu­macher said he was happy for Vet­tel, the youngest quadru­ple cham­pion at 26.

“If some­body can break all th­ese records I pre­fer it to be him, than some­body else,” added the Ger­man, who left the sport at the end of last sea­son af­ter com­ing out of re­tire­ment for three years with Mercedes.

Mercedes ended last sea­son as over­all run­ners-up to Red Bull, a big im­prove­ment on last year’s fifth place, with Ger­many’s Nico Ros­berg and Bri­tain’s Lewis Hamil­ton both win­ning races.

Schu­macher, who is good friends with Vet­tel and races with him in the an­nual race of Cham­pi­ons event as Team Ger­many, said he had no re­grets about his sec­ond re­tire­ment.

He felt Mercedes, who an­nounced on Thurs­day that his old friend, ally and prin­ci­pal Ross Brawn was leav­ing at the end of the year, would be able to launch a real cham­pi­onship chal­lenge next year.

“Ev­ery­thing now is there to have the base to fight the cham­pi­onship in the fu­ture. And that’s what I think can hap­pen,” he said. – Reuters

HIGH PRAISE: Michael Schu­macher has lauded F1 driver and coun­try­man Sebastian Vet­tel.

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