Vettel contemplates possible Verstappen partnership at Ferrari

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Sebastian Vettel has not closed off the possibility for a potential blockbuster partnership with Max Verstappen at Ferrari in the future, though doesn't expect it to become a reality for now.

The Dutchman is on the radar of the Scuderia for 2019, as he is at their main rivals Mercedes with the 20-year-old may be looking elsewhere if Red Bull don't offer a championship-contending car next season.

Any move would likely be to replace Kimi Raikkonen, as Vettel recently signed a new three-year deal to stay at Maranello until the end of 2020, and though the four-time champion is believed to hold some weight over who his teammate is at Ferrari, he admits he can't control what the team wants.  

“I feel you need to be prepared to race anyone on the grid,” he claimed, “obviously Max is still quite young and has more years left than we have but you never know. Obviously, I have a longer contract now than him but in F1… some things they take time."

What will also play a role is the decision of Verstappen's current teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who is out of contract after 2018 as well as the competitiveness of Red Bull, with Max's win at Sepang further proof the Milton Keynes team is closing the gap.

“Other things they tend to change very quickly, so it’s a bit pointless to look too far into the future,” Vettel pointed out. “For now I think we are pretty calm inside the team because we know what’s going on this year, what’s going on next year.”

The two drivers have had a patchy history together with a number of notable incidents including Spa and Mexico last year and more recently the stat crash in Singapore last month.

Commenting on the pair, however, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits the way they both perform is remarkably similar despite being very different characters.

“Where Sebastian was very strong under big pressure moments, Max has that ability too," he claimed. "He was so cool today leading the Grand Prix. He was the coolest guy out there.”

The form Verstappen has had has often gone unnoticed due to the regularity of his retirements, but Horner pointed at his results in qualifying as proof of his abilities after he became the first teammate to beat Ricciardo on a Saturday over a season at Sepang.

“You see under pressure he is really delivering at a massive level, and this year his performance, particularly on a Saturday, have been massively impressive,” he commented.

“We know that Daniel is one of the best, so to have the two of them pushing each other the way that they are is a dream situation for the team.”