Sebastian Vettel plays down talks of Ferrari rift after chief Maurizio Arrivabene claimed four-time champion has to earn new contract
- Sebastian Vettel yet to win for Ferrari in poor Formula One season
- Ferrari driver trails team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the championship
- Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene claims German must earn new deal
- Vettel is out of contract at Maranello at the end of the 2017 campaign
- German starts Japanese Grand Prix from seventh on the grid
- Click here for all the latest F1 news, features and points tables
Sebastian Vettel insists there is no rift between himself and Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
In an interview for Italian television on Friday, Arrivabene said Vettel had to ‘earn’ a contract renewal with the team.
The German’s current three-year deal runs out at the end of next season and this has been a frustrating campaign for team and driver. Vettel crashed out of last week’s Malaysian Grand Prix on the first lap.
Sebastian Vettel has endured a winless 2016 as he walks through the Suzuka paddock
The German signs autographs for supporters at the Japanese circuit ahead of qualifying
Vettel has struggled to lead Ferrari's attack to Mercedes during a tough season for the team
The four-time world champion is currently fifth in the drivers’ championship standings, seven points behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
‘Sebastian today has a contract with us,’ Arrivabene told Italy’s Sky F1. ‘We have work to do this year, and also the next. During the season we will see.
‘Everybody has an objective. I have, the team has, Sebastian has, everybody has. So it's right everybody has to earn their position and salary.
‘Sebastian just needs to focus on the car,’ added the Italian. ‘He is a person who gives so much and that sometimes means an interest in a bit of everything.’
Vettel said he was unaware of Arrivabene’s comments
‘I enjoy a good relationship with him, there is nothing between us,’ he said.
Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene claims Vettel will have to earn a new contract with the team
Vettel qualified fourth fastest for the Japanese Grand Prix but will start seventh on Sunday
‘We are trying to achieve the same thing – making progress, getting stronger and winning races.
|1. Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||8||288|
|2. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||6||265|
|3. Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1||204|
|4. Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||0||160|
|5. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||0||153|
|6. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1||147|
‘It’s been an up and down year but the focus is to try and make progress.’
The 29-year-old has no wins this season, with six podiums from the 16 races thus far.
He will struggle to add to that tally at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Vettel qualified in fourth – one place behind Raikkonen – but will start seventh at Suzuka after being handed a three-place grid penalty for crashing into Nico Rosberg at Sepang last Sunday.
Vettel's season sees him trail team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by seven points in the championship
Raikkonen starts third at Suzuka behind pole sitter Nico Rosberg (centre) and Lewis Hamilton
Despite that, Vettel was upbeat after qualifying with Ferrari less than half a second behind frontrunners Mercedes.
‘The car has been really good today,’ he said. ‘I had small mistakes in the final stages and Kimi did a better job, but it has been a positive day.
‘A lot of people said we didn't have any chance but I think we proved that our car is good. We are not that far off.’
JAPANESE GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING RESULTS
1. Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1min 30.647s
2 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:30.660
3 Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:30.949
4 Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:31.028
5 Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:31.178
6 Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:31.240
7 Perez (Mex) Force India 1:31.961
8 Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:31.961
9 Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:31.142
10 Gutierrez (Mex) Haas 1:32.547
ELIMINATED FROM Q2
11 Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:32.315
12 Massa (Bra) Williams 1:32.380
13 Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso 1:32.623
14 Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso 1:32.685
15 Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:32.689
16 Palmer (Gbr) Renault 1:32.807
ELIMINATED FROM Q1
17 Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:32.851
18 Magnussen (Den) Renault 1:33.023
19 Ericsson (Swe) Sauber 1:33.222
20 Nasr (Bra) Sauber 1:33.332
21 Ocon (Fra) Manor 1:33.353
22 Wehrlein (Ger) Manor 1:33.561
- Sebastian Vettel has a three-place grid penalty after causing a collision at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
- Pascal Wehrlein has a five-place grid penalty following an unscheduled gearbox change.
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