Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014

Ricciardo ‘knew he could challenge Vettel’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says he expected to get on terms with world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel in his first season driving for Red Bull.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

‘I never doubted challenging Vettel’ (ESPN)

“I feel I’m still growing and getting better as a driver as well, so I knew coming into the season with the team behind me and sort of a new opportunity, that I would be able to challenge Seb.”

Sir Jackie Stewart visits IndyCar paddock at Detroit’s Belle Isle (Speed)

“Stewart was in Detroit to attend the wedding of Henry Ford III on Saturday evening but paid a visit to the IndyCar paddock for several hours and attended the IndyCar driver’s meeting before Saturday’s first race of a Detroit doubleheader.”

Ecclestone Says He Doubts Fashion Tycoon Lawrence Stroll Will Buy Into F1 (Forbes)

“Nobody knows if Lawrence is buying into F1. Everybody talks. A deal has definitely not been done. I doubt that he will buy F1.”

Gilles Villeneuve… what if? (McLaren)

“Yes, I know that Teddy Mayer’s decision to hire Patrick Tambay for 1978 instead of the dazzlingly skilled Gilles Villeneuve now looks like a mistake, but at the time we racing scribes all reported it as a pretty sound move, simply because Patrick had been so impressive in the Ensign in the latter half of 1977.”

Making the earth move in Faenza (Toro Rosso)

“The new building, known as STR4 will take about as long to build as it takes to plan, design and produce a Formula One car, with a target set, not in the usual minutes, seconds and fractions of a second down to the nearest thousandth, which characterises our sport, but in weeks.”


Comment of the day

Another memory of Sir Jack Brabham, who died last week.

I recall watching Jack Brabham race at Longford in Tasmania between 1960 and 1967. Longford was at the time the fastest circuit in the Southern Hemisphere and incredibly dangerous. A road circuit that was basically four straights connected by right-angle bends. However, part of the circuit went through the town on Longford, over a railway crossing and also two bridges over a river.

In 1965 the Australian Grand Prix was held there and Brabham was leading when while lapping a slower car he was nudged and spun. He dashed into the pits for a very quick suspension check and then blasted out, by now well down the field. He finished second to Bruce McLaren by one tenth of a second having passed other drivers the like of Graham Hill, Phil Hill and Jim Clark. It was a stunning drive on the edge on a circuit where any mistake would kill you. He was known for winning at the slowest speed possible but on that day he wanted to win and how.

A very modest man who survived by his own count the death of 30 friends. RIP.
Peter Lovett

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On this day in F1

Martin Brundle suffered a huge crash during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on this day 30 years ago after a problem with his brake pedal. Brundle returned to the pits to qualify, but team owner Ken Tyrrell refused to let his clearly dazed driver continue after Brundle asked which way to turn at the pit lane exit.

Image © Red Bull/Getty

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  • 86 comments on “Ricciardo ‘knew he could challenge Vettel’”

    1. I find it ironic that many people were complaining by Red Bull’s decision to pick Ricciardo over Raikkonen back in September 2013. Seeing how well Dan and Kimi are doing now against their respective teammates, funny how things can work out.

      1. @kingshark Some even went so far as to say RB picked Ricciardo to keep Vettel happy so he could have another team-mate he could consistently trounce. Shows how wrong we can be and that the teams with all their data have a much better idea of how drivers compare to one another. Although Kimi will probably be more competitive as the season goes on, so i’m not saying he is definitively ‘weaker’ than Dan, just that Dan was underrated by fans in general i think – myself included.

        1. I fail to see how this is a valid comparison at all. Ricciardo is up against Vettel in a car that he does not like, whereas Raikkonen is up against Alonso, who most people would consider the best driver in the field. That is not to say that Raikkonen has not been poor so far, but a happy Alonso vs an unhappy Vettel is hardly a just comparison. Also don’t forget that Ricciardo basically stayed within the Red Bull family, whereas Raikkonen has more fundamentally changed teams (despite having been there before).

          1. @victor
            I naively thought that the mark of a great driver was to adapt to whatever machinery they are given. Ricciardo is clearly able to adapt quicker. Maybe Vettel simply won by default as he never had a championship winning team mate to beat but had the better car in the field…

        2. I think it was perfectly natural for fans to consider that when RBR was talking to KR and the rumors were that he was going to sign there, that meant two WDC’s on ‘SV’s’ team, a certain departure from MW.

          Once they signed DR that naturally changed the tone of people’s opinion of what RBR was up to. No disrespect to DR, but for now, and including heading SV so far, he does not have what KR has on his resume.

          I think it is too early to be handing RBR a trophy for best driver signing ahead of 2014. I also wonder how serious they really were in signing KR since it didn’t happen, and if they wanted a WDC beside SV bad enough, they would have made it happen and signed KR.

        3. The thing is we knew VET wasn’t great we had no idea he was this bad.

          So we felt he needed higher calibre driver for some competition. Wouldn’t be surprised if RBR had indeed intended to protect VET and just speechless at they are witnessing as well.

          1. Oops *add a bit of grammar

          2. The thing is we knew VET wasn’t great we had no idea he was this bad.

            I’m sure that those comments are just to start a flame bait

      2. Just to point out that I always thought it was the logical choice!

      3. I love the photo in that ESPN link, looks like DannyRic has systematically blasted the eyes out of every RB mechanic with champagne.

      4. The same thing happened with Hamilton. Even Alonso stated that he’d rather have someone capable of bringing in the points like Pedro de la Rosa.

        I think the tides will change though. Raikkonen will eventually have races where he’s not being rammed or held back by team strategic bloopers. Vettel will get the car from Red bull that he wants.

    2. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      2nd June 2014, 0:26

      Marko is by many considered as an unlikable and “boring” man, but nobody can deny his managemment into the RB Junior program has brought excellent drivers into the sport. Good to see Toro Rosso will improve, and it seems that all the rumors saying RB was leaving the sport can be dismissed now. Attention to Kvyat in the following seasons.

      1. Marko is by many considered as an unlikable and “boring” man

        I think he is the most powerful man on the paddock among the ones that have never invested a single dollar to be there.

      2. Aqib (@aqibqadeer)
        2nd June 2014, 6:40

        he sure knows how to pick his talent but he cant stop treating them like kids let them grow up(specially in the case of vettel)

      3. The Seb vs. Dan story could be even better if RBR and Renault had equipment to fight for both championships. I’m expecting these “battle” to become more exciting next year (assuming RBR will bring a race winning car).

        1. @jcost – I think it’s a fair assumption! The Red Bull looks great this year but just lacks the power from the PU to get them where they need to be. No doubt if they had a Mercedes engine, they’d be at least as fast as the Mercs.

          I just hope that next year, they aren’t miles faster than Mercedes but are instead, competitive. Seeing Rosberg and Hamilton battle it out for the WDC again with Seb and Riccardio thrown would be amazing. I assume it’s too much to ask for Ferrari to be competitive for a year….

          These team-mate battles are great but throw a potential WDC into the mix and the whole atmosphere completly changes!

      4. Good to see Toro Rosso will improve, and it seems that all the rumors saying RB was leaving the sport can be dismissed now.

        Or they could be spending a bit of spare change to improve the team facilities, thus improve the prospects of a partial or complete sale..?

        1. @optimaximal you make a very valid point there

      5. …and in future, look out for Sainz Jr, Lynn, Gasly…

    3. Not Daniel isn’t good. But to challenge someone you need that person to actually finish the races.

      1. Yeah, it’s a shame Ricciardo hasn’t beaten him in Bahrain, China or Spain

        1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
          2nd June 2014, 1:40

          @samf94 even as a fan of Vettel, I’m impressed by the great level Daniel is showing (and the problems Vettel is facing to adapt to this year’s car). Retirements aside, it looks like Daniel is more comfortable in the RB10 than what Sebastian is. Maybe people were right to point out Sebastian’s first kid was going to make him lose some performance… To me, it’s totally unrelated. The way the chassis is made in this year’s car looks better suit for Daniel, and for Sebastian it’s difficult to have a positive learning curve when the car fails more often than not.

          1. I think it really is just that Vettel has been working towards perfectly mastering what was possible with the exhaust supported planted back of the car in the last seasons, so much that now it takes him a while to adapt, while Ricciardo found a car that is still handling far better than the cars he was in before. And on top of that a team that is an oiled machine and the motivation to show himself @omarr-pepper.

            As for “I never doubted challenging Vettel”, I have yet to see a driver that does not think they can beat their opponents!

        2. It’s a bit unfair to use the Spanish GP as a reference point when Vettel, thanks to a gearbox penalty, was relegated to 15th place – if anything, Vettel’s lap times suggest he probably would have beaten Ricciardo in that race if he’d started in the top 10.

        3. Oh you mean in the races where Vettel has had massive or slight technical issues in the race and on occasions the entire weekend?

      2. This kind of comments always baffles me. Technical problems are not always up to luck. It also depends on how you drive the car. There is some randomness in technical issues but I bet it’s not always the component issue. Some drivers are just more aggressive with their driving and it may affect the life of for example engine components. I am pretty sure it’s not an accident that it is Vettel that have more technical problems than Daniel.

        1. Some drivers are just more aggressive with their driving and it may affect the life of for example engine components. I am pretty sure it’s not an accident that it is Vettel that have more technical problems than Daniel.

          Funny how conspiracy theorists don’t say the same when Webber’s car breaks down (Even though it’s been proven that it doesn’t break any more often than Vettel’s) and immediately accuse Red Bull of sabotage and favouritism.

          1. Though most of the failures are probably not affected by driver, certainly this year, last year I can remember at least one time it did look like Webber is going to break the car.

            It was in India. It was difficult to watch, due to my mechanical sympathy, how he was riding those kerbs in the fast speed corners, when the car is under great load. It did look like something was going to break starting from qualifying. When he eventually did break down, it was not a surprise. But this is probably an exception, most of them are pseudo-random, not affected by driving style.

            To even speculate that this years problems on Vettel’s car have been caused by him however is absurd. Most of the problems have started as soon as he stepped in the car or not been solved prom previous days.

            1. @mateuss You can’t really say they’re not either.

              Sebastian has spent the last 4 years basically gunning the engine through corners because the car chassis has allowed him too – there’s likely to be some muscle memory/subliminal thought still doing that and being too aggressive could stress and overheat a turbo, especially as the cars were already slow behind the safety car.

              That or the turbo failed through overboosting, but that’s likelya mechanical issue…

        2. A driver might affect the lifetime somewhat, but even driving it as hard as possible, it simply isn’t possible to make the gearbox wear down and grenade itself all of a sudden half way into its expected lifespan.
          It might wear slightly faster. But the team will see this after each session when they open the gearbox, and their sensors / logging system will tell them whenever a component like the engine or the gearbox is being abused.
          So they will know in advance about this excessive wear, talk to the driver about it, and if necessary replace the component.

          1. They regularly change gear cogs for slight wear and tear or approaching end of life… they break the seal to do so, but it’s all cleared with Jo Bauer and usually multiple cars do it during each weekend.

    4. While I’m delighted that Daniel is finding success and seemingly very happy at Red Bull, and while I hope such success may continue, I think what he’s saying is a bit premature.

      He’s doing the job now, yes. He’s beating Vettel on track (even accounting for all of Seb’s mechanical gremlins) but there is a long way to go in this intra-team battle. Vettel hasn’t lost any of his talent or will to win. Despite what his many detractors may say, you don’t win four titles on the trot without being a phenomenal driver. Things are going well for Daniel right now, but we’ve seen several times before that Vettel may take a while to adapt to new situations but when he does he’s a hard driver to beat.

      Consider how he improved vastly throughout his first full season in 2008, how he became more consistent in the latter halves of both ’09 and ’10, and how after a relatively poor start in 2012 he eventually dominated. I think it’s only a matter of time until Seb starts to really come back at Daniel hard. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.

      I’d love nothing more than for this team mate battle to be hard fought right to the end of the season. Considering how I think Hamilton could end up dominating Rosberg (and therefore the Championship) and Alonso-Kimi isn’t meeting expectations (much like their car) then I think the ongoing Vettel-Ricciardo battle could be a source of great excitement this season. At least, I hope so.

      1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        2nd June 2014, 1:43

        @colossal-squid the only downturn of RB teammates battle will be to see they can only fight for the third step on the podiums. Mercedes looks “indestructible”

        1. @omarr-pepper Yep, they look completely unbeatable at the moment, not just for the championship but for every race for the foreseeable future. Maybe towards the end of the season RB can start challenging but it’s looking doubtful.

          At least Vettel and Ricciardo are such competitive drivers that I’m sure they’ll still give it their all to beat each other to get that third spot. It won’t be as exciting as if it were for a win but I hope we can see some great battles on track for that last podium place.

          1. I suspect that if they don’t consistently challenge come Singapore (and I mean challenge, not follow home in third 40 seconds down the road) then all focus will be thrown to the 2015 car.

            Even with Red Bull’s resource, it would just be wasted money, given the engine/chassis integration issues they’ve had.

      2. After seeing Vettel dominating for the past four years , It is safe to say he will get on top of things and challenge soon . He needs some luck to be able to finish races , then his driving will do the talking .
        But happy for Danny Ric as he is having a great run so far .

        1. Based on his race pace in Spain and his comments on the chassis swap, he may already have found his groove. Though we’ll never know what could’ve been, my hunch is that Ricciardo would not have been on the podium in Monaco if Vettel hadn’t suffered yet another mechanical. It’ll be fascinating to see how they both fare in Montreal.

        2. In fairness @hamilfan Vettel only dominated two of the past four years. 2010 and 2012 were fights to the last race, but your main point is correct.

      3. @colossal-squid I agree that DR’s comment seems a bit premature, and would add that he seems a bit too happy and self-assured about his current standing given where they sit in relation to Mercedes, and given the earliness of this wholely new era. He seems too content to just be heading SV, and almost sounds like he is in a race winning car by his quotes, not the problematic one that needs tons of work yet. A WDC-level driver would be bemoaning his lack of car to close the massive points gap to the leaders…or maybe that is unfair to DR and the team has collectively resigned themselves to this not being their year.

        I think DR was always going to be in the least-pressure situation on the team as the newby, even though he is not a rookie. Don’t do well vs SV on SV’s team…no surprise. Do well on SV’s team and it’s a bonus. All DR knows is that this was always going to be a step up in team, dominating or not.

        SV on the other hand has barely been able to string together any two sessions of any description in a row, starting from pre-season testing, in order to achieve any kind of reasonable foundation to build on, in a car and format he opines ‘isn’t F1′ and certainly isn’t his car from the previous 4 years. That’s gotta be tough. Go from any drivers’ dream machine, with the trophies in tow, to his worst nightmare with this drastic change in technical regs.

        So while I think DR sounds a little too happy right now, I also think this is a situation in which SV gets to show us the very things we wondered about when he was making it all look so easy. What can and will he do when all the ducks aren’t aligned in a row…and in this case SV must be thinking the ducks went home…or maybe a few of them migrated to the other side of the garage.

        1. Dan has been down on himself and critical of his own performance plenty of times this season, and realistic about the situation with Red Bull and Mercedes. Yeah he smiles a lot and exhibits much positive energy and confidence, but your comments portraying him as “a little too happy right now” or “too content” seem to be formed from one answer to a question from a journalist, not on the sum of his actions and performances this season.

          1. @mattc888 You are not making an unfair comment, but I still say he sounds at least in this interview as I have suggested. He knew he could compete with Seb…well he’s not really up against the Seb we know right now. Everything has come good…really? If NR is still getting knocked for only being ahead of LH due to his one DNF in Australia, then where should DR realistically be vs SV right now, and what would DR be saying then about everything coming good or paying the team back?

    5. Wait till Seb find his groove again, Daniel. I’m very impressed with him, really, but only when Seb’s at full speed, we’ll be able to rate him properly.

      So far, he’s managing the situation very well. But I don’t know, I don’t expect Seb to suddenly lose with the new boy just like that…

      1. I’m expcting they to be close even when “Seb find his groove”.

      2. Now that Vettel will adapt his style to lose the rear end EBD style, we’ll see how long it takes him to adapt his muscle memory. It could be 1 month (fast) or 6 months (slow)… my hunch is on the faster end of the scale for Vettel.

    6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      2nd June 2014, 2:20

      I knew Dan would give Seb a run for his money in qualifying, but I never expected him to out-race him so substantially.
      I know that Vettel has had more than his fair-share of mechanical problems, but in the races they’ve both been in, Dan has, for the most part, been better.

      Commentators think it’s something to do with Dan being more used to cars that are far less stable than Vettel. Who knows.

      1. That is exactly what I thought at the beginning of the year as well, that Vettel would always find a way to get past him in the races, but we just have to wait and see how long it takes for Sebastian to get comfortable in the car again and see how Daniel handles the extra pressure.

    7. I know it’s early, but perhaps Daniel is actually better than Sebastian?

      1. I’d say it’s still far too early to tell. We’re only a third of the way through the season, and given that Vettel has retired from two races with mechanical issues I’d say that there simply isn’t enough evidence to make any reasonable judgement.

      2. I’d say it’s still far too early to tell. We’re only a third of the way through the season, and given that Vettel has retired from two races with mechanical issues I’d say that there simply isn’t enough evidence to make any reasonable judgement.

    8. Exactly RyanF1 what if heavens above he’s actually better than Seb… Some people refused to see it. Personally Seb has been over hyped…

    9. Karthik Mohan
      2nd June 2014, 4:35

      Oh my! Ricciardo is playing mind games with Seb!

      1. Daniel challenge Seb. Seb. Not Vettel anymore. So it’s sign of better relation of them…

        1. Karthik Mohan
          2nd June 2014, 6:24

          Ah, come on man! Isn’t that reading a bit too much into it? I mean everyone at Red Bull calls him Seb! Even Webber! And the Webber-Vettel relation was hardly a good one!

          1. Hahaha…
            I read somewhere yesterday that Marko hate Daniel for calling Seb ‘Vettel’. At least both RB driver are well fed.

    10. I am waiting for a new chassis for Daniel Ricciardo as I believe the new one is lighter and maybe significantly faster . But , yeah , it has helped Seb . Seb would have finished ahead had it not been for mechanical problems .BUt equally in :DR’s favour , he has always qualified ahead of Seb. This rivalry is interesting to watch from a neutral perspective for me.

      1. SV has reverted to a Old Chassis which used in testing and we will see the New chassis of DR if i remember that right DR may get new chassis around silverstone

      2. Vettel’s “new” chassis is actually his old one from testing.
        Vettel was 1s ahead of ric in malaysia.

    11. “Yes, I know that Teddy Mayer’s Martin Whitmarsh’s decision to hire Patrick Tambay Sergio Perez for 1978 2013 instead of the dazzlingly skilled Gilles Villeneuve Nico Hulkenberg now looks like a mistake, but at the time we racing scribes all reported it as a pretty sound move, simply because Patrick Sergio had been so impressive in the Ensign Sauber in the latter first half of 19772012.”

      Not saying the drivers are equal, but seems like McLaren sticked to their philosophy!

      Also wondering where the outcry is on McLaren saying Villeneuve would have driven for them had he not died, since Senna going to Ferrari was a result of Ferrari’s current poor season. But then again, McLaren’s timing is a lot better.

      1. Also looks like I can’t format a post properly!

      2. Hahahahahahahahaha that is brilliant!

      3. Oh, dear me, that was funny! @npf1

    12. To be fair, I would have been shocked if Ricciardo didn’t believe that he could challenge Vettel. To compete at this level you have to have massive self belief and if you don’t believe that you can beat the man in the garage next to you, no matter who he or she is, you shouldn’t even be out there.

      1. @geemac Yup exactly. I’m sure Piquet, Brundle, Irvine, Barrichello and Massa all thought they could beat Schumi before the season started. This goes for any teammate really, perhaps with the exception of Chilton going into 2014 ;)

        1. @dragoll until Bianchi’s score in Monaco, I’d say that both were showing fairly well against each other.

          Of course, that says more about Jules’ lackluster job that Max doing a good job! :)

        2. Before the season started maybe, but after a few races, probably not! I’ve never really noticed it before but MSC was actually paired with a nice group of drivers in his time (the three time world champion at the end of his career, the world sportscar champion and F1 journeyman, the ultimate egomanic and a couple of likeable underdogs).

          1. @geemac Three time world champion? Who are you referring to?

            1. Piquet…….

            2. @geemac Oh, Nelson at the end of his career, I thought it read “MSC at the end of his carrer”.

            3. Yeah, I had to re-read it to get it too. But it all makes perfect sense :)

      2. They are only competitive when they believe that they are the best out there and can beat their team mate. Once they realise that they aren’t as good and they’ve run out of reasons to justify why they are are slower (problems with the car, rule changes, bad luck etc), they are finished. That’s why Massa, Barichello and Webber struggled towards the end. They knew that given a seat in the fastest team, they would probably finish 2nd. Once you think like that, you might as well find something else to do.

    13. I don’t like how the naysayers are already up in arms and are like ‘I knew it Vettel was nothing special it was just his car’ because of Ricciardo being supposedly unrated and challenging him despite that… granted Ricciardo is doing an amazing job and he will make Vettel sweat but Vettel has gotten most of the mechanical gremlins and is pretty close in performance to him… did anyone undermine Alonso when a then rookie and thus unrated Hamilton was capable of outqualifying him more often than not and beat him in the standings? I think not.

      1. @woshidavid95 Give it time, Vettel will come back to form, and I say the same thing to Kimi fans, these guys are struggling to adapt to the changes in the formula, in all the years I’ve been watching F1, I can’t say that I’ve seen a driver go from good to bad and never come back because of rule changes. While the changes this year are a game changer, its the car with the best engine this year that is showing up the rest of the field.
        I think that if the likes of VET and RAI slowed down a little and just concentrate on basics, rather than run around like headless chooks, then their form will return. Kimi may seem calm but I’ve never really considered him to be the “ice man” that many claim him to be.

        1. I can’t say that I’ve seen a driver go from good to bad and never come back because of rule changes.


          1. @optimaximal Are you suggesting that Massa was good at some point?

            1. @dragoll I’m going to go out on a limb and reference the fact he was the World Drivers Champion for 30 seconds in 2008!

          2. @optimaximal Being hit on the head by a component from a Team Brackley car is NOT a rule change, and the 2009 Ferrari F1 car was just rubbish to begin with.

    14. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      2nd June 2014, 12:13

      I’m wondering what is next for Kyvat and Vergne. Both of them are very very good but there appears to be no room at the top for them right now. Red Bull certainly aren’t short of options for the foreseeable future…

      1. I imagine Kvyat-Sainz Jr for 2015.. then by 2016 things could have changed. Maybe Vettel is matched by Ricciardo, and RB decide they can save money by taking an outstanding Kvyat instead….. then perhaps Gasly would step up to Toro Rosso for 2016.

        But, at the moment, it’s even hard to know whether Lynn, Sainz Jr or Gasly will be picked by Marko to replace Vergne for 2015.

    15. I’m a Vettel fan, but i recon that Ricciardo is having a great season, and for know is the only and still with a long way to go, the Mercedes threat.
      As for beating Vettel, he’s doing a great job, with problems or not (almost everyone wanted with no problems) for Vettel, but Seb is struggling this year with this car and with the badluck that Alonso talked last year…but that’s a part from racing, so Ricciardo is for know the best placed pilot in the team…
      However i’m looking forward to see a real action beetween both drivers…this season still haven’t giving us that…

    16. It’ s a very cool race.

    17. Dan has so far been very good and impressive, no doubt on that. But it’s not so sure whether all his performance should be credited to his talent, let alone the mechanical issues from Seb side. By nature this is always respective perception and here too comes the impression from the bar set by Seb’s quality from the past, resulting he is in Seb’s level.
      In all fairness, it could be that Seb was not so much awesome top of the top dogs after all, which is partially evidenced by his dip in form. Put in other way, I suspected Seb got hyped portion in his reputation and ability in the past and reckons it has been the case looking at his struggle to get accustomed to new era. I remember jibber-jabbering of ‘Great’ or not sort of things last year on him. Yeah, now it comes the time.
      Good news is as Nando said presciently, here Seb got real chance to prove himself, still at young age and potential to learn things, he can either stand tall or fall in disgrace. And I do hope he come thru all this as weathered and as strong as possible to really be one of great.

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