Daniel Ricciardo: 'I expected Sebastian Vettel to leave'

German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates his victory in the Brazil F-1 GP on November 24, 2013
© Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel's decision to leave Red Bull didn't come as a shock, according to teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that Sebastian Vettel's departure from the former constructors' champions didn't come as a complete surprise.

The four-time world champion will leave the Milton Keynes-based outfit at the end of the season, to be replaced by Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat.

However, Ricciardo has suggested that the chance to drive at a rival team may have been an opportunity that was too good to turn down for the 27-year-old German racer.

He is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: "I expected him to leave, so I wasn't shocked when he announced he was leaving.

"The way I see it, he has won four titles with Red Bull and obviously he has an opportunity elsewhere.

"Before he sees himself getting a bit too old for the sport, he probably wants another challenge."

Ricciardo is currently third in the drivers' rankings, 56 points ahead of Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull prepares to drive during practise for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on March 15, 2014
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TeamPoints
1Mercedes357
2Ferrari318
3Red Bull184
4Force India101
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso39
7Haas29
8Renault26
9McLaren11
10Sauber5
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari202
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes188
3Valtteri BottasMercedes169
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari116
6Max VerstappenRed Bull67
7Sergio PerezForce India56
8Esteban OconForce India45
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso35
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren10
16Pascal WehrleinSauber5
17Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
18Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Jolyon PalmerRenault0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0
23Paul di RestaWilliams-Mercedes0
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