Mike Stevens | Oct 14, 2011

Keeping Mark Webber alongside new back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel for 2012 was the right choice.

That is the claim of triple world champion Niki Lauda, referring to the recent one-year extension of the 35-year-old Australian's contract.

Webber, after mounting a close championship challenge in 2010, has failed to win a single GP this season compared to early title winner Vettel's nine in an identical Red Bull.

But pundit Lauda backs the move to renew his deal.

"On a good day Mark is really fast and pushes Sebastian hard enough to keep the (car) development moving on," he told Austrian television Servus TV.

"I see it as a very good (driver) combination," added Lauda.

(GMM)

 

Buemi must beat teammate for Brazil practice laps

Sebastien Buemi must up his game if he wants to practice on Friday morning ahead of next month's 2011 season finale in Brazil.

Toro Rosso has told the Swiss, and his teammate Jaime Alguersuari, that whoever has the least amount of points after the penultimate race in Abu Dhabi will give up his car at Interlagos to French hopeful Jean-Eric Vergne.

Vergne, the latest cream of Red Bull's young driver programme, will kick off his new Friday morning duties this weekend in Korea at the wheel of Alguersuari's STR6.

"Jaime sits out the session because the last time a driver was replaced on Friday morning, it was Sebastien Buemi who gave up his seat to Daniel Ricciardo," the Faenza based team said in a statement.

Vergne will sit out India because it's a new circuit, and will return on Friday morning in Abu Dhabi "replacing Buemi", the Red Bull junior team added.

And for Brazil, "whichever of the Toro Rosso drivers has the least points will give up his seat to Vergne for FP1".

Currently, three races before Brazil, Buemi trails Spaniard Alguersuari by three points.

And also looming in the background is Red Bull's other young hopeful, Aussie Daniel Ricciardo.

"In the next couple of years not only the loss of practice laps is threatened, but also the complete loss of their seats," noted Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

(GMM)

 

Alonso and Hamilton better than Vettel - Briatore

Sebastian Vettel may be the sport's first ever reigning back-to-back world champion, but he is not the best driver on the grid.

That is the view of former Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who thinks his charge Fernando Alonso and also McLaren's Lewis Hamilton are better than the dominant 24-year-old German.

"Vettel is definitely good," the Italian told Corriere dello Sport, "but he has won because he has been the best to manage his phenomenal (Red Bull) machine.

"He is not the best. Imagine a race with everyone racing the same car; Vettel would be behind Fernando Alonso and also Lewis Hamilton.

"Over one lap I see him in pole position, with Hamilton second and Alonso third," added Briatore.

(GMM)

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