Red Bull Battle: Ricciardo v Vettel

Source: AFP/theaustralian.com.au
Sebastian Vettel - the 'old bull' is being pressured by the 'new bull'! Source: AFP/theaustralian.com.au


BATTLE OF THE BIG BULLS

VETTEL v RICCIARDO

“Mark Webber leaving Red Bull Racing.” You can imagine the joy F1 team mate, or should I say colleague, Sebastian Vettel would have felt reading that headline. Finally, after five years of racing together, no more tantrums, no more feuds, no more ignoring team orders. Vettel can finally say goodbye to Webber and say gidday to his new partner. There’s just one problem - the German’s new team mate is somewhat a baby-faced replica of Mark Webber and just five GP’s into the 2014 season, there are already many similarities between with the Webber/Vettel relationship.

The cheesy-grinned Daniel Ricciardo was named Webber’s replacement for Red Bull last year after impressing for Toro Rosso in previous seasons. The Perth-born driver has already taken the F1 by storm, notching up 39 points in the opening five races. There’s no doubting the 24-year-old’s talent and no one is more aware of it than his very own Red Bull team mate. Securing his fourth straight driver’s championship last year, Vettel has had an awful start to this year’s campaign, managing just one podium finish so far. If it wasn’t for a harsh disqualification in the opening GP in Australia, Ricciardo would be ahead of the German by a hefty 12 points. So, is Sebastian Vettel in jeopardy of playing second fiddle to the Aussie?

It's probably too early to call, but when you compare Ricciardo’s debut season for Red Bull to Vettel’s debut season for Toro Rosso in 2008, the Aussie already looks the better driver after just five races. Ricciardo has already mustered three top-four results this year, including a podium finish. Vettel only managed two top-four finishes in his Toro Rosso debut season, but made history when he became the youngest driver to win a GP taking the chequered flag in Malaysia at the age of 21 and 74 days. Apart from that victory, Vettel didn’t achieve much more that year.  But with 14 races still ahead of him this campaign, Ricciardo has plenty of time to add to his impressive performances first time round for Red Bull.

Heading into this weekend’s race in Monaco, the man to catch appears to be championship leader Lewis Hamilton . Mercedes have dominated in the early stages of the season, with Hamilton winning the past four races, following teammate Nico Rosberg’s triumph in the opening GP in Australia. In last year’s race at this famous street circuit, Rosberg  emerged victorious with Vettel   and Webber both on the podium. Ricciardo  will be quietly confident he can collect back-to-back podiums this weekend and, although at long odds, will have his eyes on a maiden F1 win. The 24-year-old showed he has the car and ability to do it, finishing second at the Australian Grand Prix, before being disqualified for technical breaches. 

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