Vettel “very happy” to see Daniel Ricciardo back in Formula One

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Four-Ttme World Champion Sebastian Vettel has described Nyck de Vries’s sudden departure from AlphaTauri as “harsh” and “brutal” and expressed his support for the Dutchman.

Vettel is no stranger to the ruthless nature of the Red Bull driver regime as the German himself first drove for the Red Bull family under the sister team formally known as Toro Rosso in 2007 replacing driver Scott Speed for the rest of the campaign from the Hungarian Grand Prix mid-season.

Being promoted to Red Bull in 2009 and going on to win four championships on the bounce from 2010 to 2013, Vettel remains in contact with Milton Keynes-based team and its boss Christian Horner. He was spotted in Silverstone visiting the Red Bull garage on Tuesday when Daniel Riccardo was testing the Red Bull RB19 prior to the Australian’s announcement of his loan move to sister team AlphaTauri.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Speaking in an ITV interview at Goodwood, Vettel stressed that he is happy to see his former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo make a return to the grid, but said that it was a shame the way it came to an end for De Vries.

When asked for his thoughts on the AlphaTauri news, Vettel said: “Twofold if I’m honest.

“I’m very happy for Daniel, very happy. I like him, obviously I raced with him, and I met him at the test when I was shaking down the McLaren for this weekend. And I’m very, very happy for him.

“On the other hand, you have to be honest as well. It’s obviously a shame for Nyck, the way it comes to an end. I think he was given a great chance.

“Maybe things didn’t happen for him the way he expected, or people expected. But it’s also a bit harsh when it comes to a very sudden stop like that. It’s brutal.”

Vettel said he hoped that De Vries’s departure from AlphaTauri won’t have a long-term impact on his career. The Dutchman is rumoured to have interest from teams in Formula E and IndyCar.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

“I met him last year for the first time and he seemed like a really good person, and he is a good driver,” said the German.

“He won the F2 championship, he won international championships. So he’s well recognised and I hope that this sort of dent doesn’t give a dent to his career. People tend to do that, and that’s not right.

“Maybe those 10 races didn’t go according to how good they could have been. We don’t know why, first of all, from the outside, and second, he is still a very good driver. So I have to also sympathise with the fact it’s very harsh for him, and I hope that people don’t see that dent.”

With the news this week causing a stir among the F1 world, many drivers have had their say, including former Red Bull driver and Vettel’s former team-mate Mark Webber. He first said that he advised Ricciardo not to leave the Red Bull camp at the end of 2018, and cautioned that his fellow Australian will quickly have to get up to speed with new AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

“I was keen for him to stay in Red Bull, I think he know that all those years ago I was trying to talk him into staying,” Webber told ITV.

“But obviously he was keen to go to Renault at the time, and then he went to McLaren, he’s had a year out, and now he’s back. The stopwatch never lies, you’re either giving pressure or you’re taking pressure. So now he’s back on the grid and obviously he’s got to step up against Yuki pretty quickly, and hopefully he can perform well.”

Prior to signing Sergio Pérez, Red Bull had a policy of promoting from within the Red Bull family, notably from the Faenza-based team AlphaTauri (formally Toro Rosso). This must be Daniel Riccardo’s best route back to getting into a winning car. However with a car that is one of the slowest on the grid and it seemingly having an unstable rear end and poor balance, Ricciardo will have to adapt quickly to get the most out of the AT03 and beat Yuki Tsunoda.