Cape Town – Sebastian Vettel insists he won’t play games with Charles Leclerc next season, he’s here to help his new team-mate as they try to win the titles for Ferrari.
Next season Vettel will have a new team-mate as Ferrari bid farewell to Raikkonen and welcome Leclerc in his place.
It is a massive step up for the Monaco driver, who will be the second youngest ever – at 21 years and 153 days old – to race for Ferrari.
And while Vettel acknowledges it will be “different” to working with Raikkonen, who has been his team-mate since 2015, he is hoping for a good relationship with his new team-mate.
“It’s going to be different for sure, because Charles is not Kimi and Kimi is not Charles,” Vettel said in an interview with Motorsport.com.
“He is young, so he will have a lot on his head and a lot of things in his mind.
“So I think for the team we need to work together on track.
“I am sure he wants to beat me, [and] I want to beat him, the rules are clear. It was the same with Kimi.
“But I think the key is that we work together and, as I said, he will have a lot things going on in his head.
“I am his team-mate, so I am also here to help.
“I am the last one that is trying to hide or playing any games or anything like that.
“That is why I think I get along very well with Kimi, because in this regard we are very similar. So we will see.”
But while Raikkonen is leaving Ferrari, he is not walking away from Formula 1.
Instead the 39-year-old Finn has signed to race for Sauber and will be with the Faenza team for two years.
Asked if he will stick around as long as Raikkonen has, Vettel replied: “Well, it’s another 10 years from now to go as long as Kimi. It is a long time. It’s as long as I’ve been here, so now it’s half time basically. I don’t know.
“We’re looking at 400 grand prix… in total. I don’t know, you should never say never, but maybe not. I don’t know. Depends, you know. If I win the next 10 years with Ferrari, than yeah, why not?”