'Räikkönen would have been nice' – Vettel
22 August 2013 – Sebastian Vettel has admitted that it "would have been nice in many ways" to partner Kimi Räikkönen at Red Bull next season, the German reacting to the news that the Lotus driver is allegedly out of the running to replace Mark Webber.
On Monday, Räikkönen's long-time manager, Steve Robertson, confirmed that talks had broken down with the reigning World Champions, effectively clearing the way for Toro Rosso youngster Daniel Ricciardo to make the step up to the senior outfit.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, Vettel made clear that he would have welcomed the Finn onboard, and insists he does not have a deciding part to play on the identity of his team-mate for the 2014 campaign.
"I didn't know how realistic it was or not. I have learned, similar to most of us from the press, that as it looks like it's not the case," Vettel explained during Thursday's press conference in Belgium. "For sure I'm talking with the team, but as I’ve said many times it’s not my decision. I don’t want to get too involved. Kimi would have been nice in many ways, but now it’s not happening so there’s not much sense to talk about it.
"Who knows? He’s still young and I’m still young, so a lot of things can happen. Never say never, but probably for next year [racing as team-mates] is not going to happen."
Moving on to assess his chances for the second half of the season, Vettel says he has "the same reason to be confident" as he did prior to the opening race in Australia.
"We had a great first part of the season with some very good results," said Vettel, who currently holds a 38-point lead over Räikkönen in the championship standings. "It’s unfortunate with the DNF we had [at Silverstone], but overall we can be very happy.
"The calendar will be very busy for us all, but we have the same reason to be confident as we had at the start of the season. We’ve got a great car, a great team and a strong package, so hopefully that's enough to fight for victories in the next couple of races."