Vettel Disobeys OrdersMonday, March 25th, 2013
Sebastian Vettel has caused an outcry from fans of moto-racing by disobeying team orders to hold his position.
His teammate Mark Webber had previously come out on top from the last round of pitstops ahead in the race in Malaysia. It was then, with Vettel just behind, that the World Champion pushed and overtook the Australian who appeared to gesture using his middle finger after he was overtaken.
Vettel had said previously in the race ‘Mark is too slow, get him out of the way’ over the team radio, which had already promoted a reaction on social media and from the commentators who said it was not in the team spirit.
It was later though that things became more serious. Vettel admitted he received the message after the race, although it wouldn’t have been possible to deny after all the recorded messages from the team radio, including his race engineer saying ‘This is silly Seb’.
Webber conceded after the race he had been told to turn his engine down and to try and save his tires.
It was after the race that things became truly interesting and hostile. Whilst Mercedes, who had had their own on track spat, saw teammates Rosberg and Hamilton embrace warmly the same could noe be said of Red Bull. Hamilton admitted he felt wrong being on the podium and that Rosberg should be there instead as he had better pace throughout.
As soon as they entered the cool down room Webber angrily confronted Vettel, repeatedly saying ‘Multi 21, Multi 21′ which was the team order given, now confirmed to mean ‘hold your positions and turn your engines down’. Vettel did not reply.
The podium was the most sour in memory, the champagne was sprayed but the looks of the drivers were dull and Webber in no way congratulated his team mate, walking away to spray his champagne over the crowd.
Martin Brundle then stepped in to give the most eagerly anticipated post race interviews for some time. After being asked what happened Webber replied “After the last stop the team told me the race was over and we turn the engines down and go to the end. The team made their decision. Seb made his own decision and he will have protection as usual.” An assumed dig at team bosses that they will let the behaviour go unpunished.
Vettel said: “I put myself above that decision today. I didn’t mean to. I can only say sorry, apologise.” Later he was asked if he was pleased he won the race and came back with “No, I’m not. As I said, I did a mistake. If I could undo it I would but I can’t so it is not a great feeling right now and surely tonight is not going to be easy to fall asleep. I owe a proper explanation and apology to Mark and the team.”
However, with the history between these two drivers, it is fair to assume that the feelings on show did not tell the whole story. Team boss Christian Horner admitted he would be talking with his drivers before the next race.
We shall have to see how each of them react next time they are in a similar situation, with many hoping Vettel will get his comeuppance.
F1 Betting is available in both the drivers championship and the constructors championship now.