Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber clear the air

Berlin: Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull team mate Mark Webber cleared the air after Sunday`s season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, the German said.

Vettel, who won the finale to finish above Australian team mate Webber and Spain`s Fernando Alonso, said the rivalry in the team had made both drivers perform better during the season and that speculation about their differences had been exaggerated.

"Obviously there were times when we had different opinions," Vettel told a televised news conference at Red Bull`s Hangar-7 facility at Salzburg airport.

"But I think that`s normal. When you`re running at the same level you`re going to get in each other`s way and you`re going to try to get whatever advantage you can.”

"That`s all fine and that`s how you push each other on. It wasn`t always easy. I think the talk we had after the race and after the season was good for both of us."

The rivalry between Vettel and Webber flared at times during the season, with the Australian triggering a favouritism furore in July when he won the British Grand Prix.

He said over the team radio "not bad for a number two" after Red Bull had taken a new-specification front wing off his car for qualifying and handed it to Vettel. The two Red Bull drivers also collided while running one-two in Turkey in May.

"I think we were able to put it all into words quite well," Vettel said of his post-season meeting with Webber. "It would be wrong to say `What happened during the season was all rubbish and now everything is rosy`. Obviously there were moments.

"But it never went as far as the people on the outside expected."

Webber agreed: "It`s not always been easy for either of us during the year but this is normal when you`re competing against each other at this level," he told reporters in Salzburg.

"At the end of the season, we are honestly able to show respect for each other`s performance, which is very important. Congratulations to Sebastian, he really deserves the title."

Vettel flew to Austria from Abu Dhabi on Monday with Webber, team principal Christian Horner and technical head Adrian Newey.

After Tuesday`s news conference, they all went on to the Red Bull Racing factory at Milton Keynes in southeast England to thank staff for their contribution.

Vettel was then due to return to the Middle East for tests of the new Pirelli tyres at Abu Dhabi`s Yas Marina circuit on Friday and Saturday.

Bureau Report

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