How Vettel and Webber got on a collision course (Turkish GP team-by-team)

The damage to Vettel's right-rear tyre after the crash

The damage to Vettel's right-rear tyre after the crash

How did Sebastian Vettel suddenly get close enough to team mate Mark Webber to make the fateful move than destroyed their hopes of a one-two?

The interactive chart below shows how Vettel suddenly started lapping quicker than Webber in the minutes before the collision.

Rumours claim Red Bull instructed Vettel to turn up his engine shortly before the collision.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 3 1
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’26.760 (+0.465) 1’26.295
Race position 3
Average race lap 1’32.351 (+0.077) 1’32.274
Laps 39/58 58/58
Pit stops 1 2

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Sebastian Vettel

Zoom in on the interactive chart above (click and drag) to see the laps running up to the lap 41 collision. It’s clear to see that Vettel, despite already being within a second of his team mate, suddenly found a couple of tenths more.

After the race the BBC reported rumours that Vettel was instructed to turn his engine up to get a power boost before the crash – and Webber had received the opposite instruction to turn his engine down at the same time.

It’s understandable that Red Bull would have wanted to help Vettel maintain his advantage over Hamilton. But with Vettel so close to Webber surely they would have realised it would leave Webber vulnerable to being overtaken by his team mate?

The team avoided such a scenario at the same track last year, instructing both their drivers to save fuel and hold position after Vettel had fallen behind Webber.

Vettel started the race from third place after a roll-bar failure in qualifying prevented him from improving his time.

Compare Sebastian Vettel’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mark Webber

Took his third consecutive pole position and held onto his lead at the start – despite coming under considerable pressure from Lewis Hamilton.

While the RB6’s speed through turn eight allowed him to keep Hamilton at bay, he was unable to keep team mate Vettel from getting a run at him.

After the collision Webber pitted for a new front wing but still brought the car home in third place.

Compare Mark Webber’s form against his team mate in 2010

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165 comments on How Vettel and Webber got on a collision course (Turkish GP team-by-team)

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  1. If this conspiracy theory is being investigated, then why not investigate Mclaren too. Lewis was told to slow down and then Button passed him, exactly the same situation surely?

    • Scribe said on 30th May 2010, 17:09

      Not exactly. Hamilton had been pushing harder than Button all race trying to get close enough to the Redbulls to slipstream them. Button had been saving his tyres in the first stint in an attempt to jump them all in the pitstops. Same thing seemed to happening on the harder tyre. Button probably didn’t have to fuel save as early as Hamilton.

      • And you could say Webber had been pushing harder at the start of the race to hold off Hamilton?

      • Mike said on 30th May 2010, 17:55

        I think he did need to save fuel, hence why after his attempt, he fell back rapidly, I assume he had more fuel to save by that point.

        But I think it’s only natural for Button to want to get past Hamilton.

        I doubt there is any conspiracy theory, I would expect it just to be an unfortunate coincidence. But this is F1, so anything is possible.

      • Katy said on 30th May 2010, 17:59

        Yeah it is the same thing according to autosport

        “…the post-race debrief on Sunday night revealed that Webber had needed to save fuel and turn his engine down on lap 40 – while Vettel was still able to run at full power.

        Vettel had been able to save fuel when running behind other cars early on, and he had enough extra petrol on board to be able to run one more lap at full power before he too would have had to turn his engine down.”

        So the same thing happened in two teams but there’s uproar about the Red Bull thing and not McLaren. Bit odd. Surely the issue is how wrong the overtake went, not why Vettel was in the position to overtake?

        • Lee said on 30th May 2010, 20:46

          I agree. The reason Vettel was able to overtake is not nearly as important as to ask why he pulled right before he had passed webber.

        • I think there is more of an uproar about the Red Bull version because of how badly it went and the way both of them drove when fighting.

          Lewis and Jenson fought each other hard, and for longer, but didn’t touch. Big difference really.

          I think if Vettel was given an instruction to get everything out of the car, surely they should have told Webber that Vettel would be much quicker, so holding him off would probably result in either an accident or one of the McLaren’s getting through, which would have required both RBR’s to push then?

          RBR should have told Webber, in a coded message, that Vettel is quicker and has more fuel and that the team needs the 43 points, no matter what order.

          Webber, I think, would have put up a fight anyway, but not pushing Seb onto the dirty line like he did.

          Oh and Seb really shouldn’t have turned towards Mark at 195mph but hey, that’s racing I guess.

          As I said, the main difference was Lewis and Jenson went wheel-to-wheel, in a very good battle, for the lead, and fought each-other very hard but did so without costing the team and themselves points.

          Red Bull, take note.

        • Obbo said on 31st May 2010, 16:24

          Katy. “Surely the issue is how wrong the overtake went, not why Vettel was in the position to overtake?
          Well said!

          Interesting take on the issue by Vettel and Helmut Marco (RB Head of Driver Development program) after reviewing the footage,
          Vettel: “I was focussing on my braking point when Mark touched my rear wheel…” No mention of his agressive move to the right that caused the touch!

          Marco: “Vettel was three quarters ahead and had to move right because he knew he could not brake (for the turn)on the dirty side”.
          Surely if a driver finds himself in this situation it means he has not set up a successful move?
          Marco seems unaware that his statement clearly shows that he, at least, is firmly of the opinion that Vettel has the priority in the team and Webber should accept that and get out of his way when required.
          Marco also claimed that Vettel “needed to get past to avoid being passed by Hamilton” and that if Webber had co-operated “we could still have had a 1-2″.
          Again he seems to be unaware that this implies he thought that Vettel could not have held off Lewis but that Webber could!

          There is some excuse for Marco’s blind support for the driver he has nutured through his career but none for the bias in the remarks by Christain Horner. A disappointment coming from one of my favourite team bosses.

      • dandanzen said on 30th May 2010, 20:50

        But in the press conference Button said he had first been told to fuel save as early as lap 15/16…

        • @dandanzen Button was likely told that so he could push harder towards the end of the race, which he did, and despite saving fuel early on, he STILL had to save fuel at the end.

          Bit of a fail on the fueling side I think.

          • Nick F said on 31st May 2010, 2:37

            …supposing the 2nd fuel saving message was about saving fuel and not about the team freaking out after the 2 of them almost crashed into each other at turn 1.

            :-)

      • BasCB said on 31st May 2010, 6:27

        It seems Button had not only been saving his tyres but fuel from a much earlier point in the race than Hamilton.

        So he was into a groove finding the optimum driving with it as Hamilton still tried to find the optimum.
        After this nice show for the viewers, Button was probably told to back of “fuel critical”. And he did apologize on the radio after crossing the finish.

      • emil said on 31st May 2010, 7:24

        and how come Button was always 1.5 or 2.5 sec. behind hamilton ….

    • Praveen Titus said on 31st May 2010, 17:11

      While most McLaren conspiracy theories seem to suggest favoring Button, I’m confused by the fact that immediately after Button’s overtaking favor was repaid by Hamilton, he suddenly decided to save fuel! He had a successful pass on Lewis and even after Lewis re-took the lead Button could have still made successive attempts. But he decided to slow down and coast home. Why did he SUDDENLY decide to save fuel? Why didn’t it occur to him to save fuel before the encounter?

      It may be strange but I think Button was deliberately asked to slow down to let Lewis win, especially as Lewis was on a fuel save mode. If you saw Button answering during the press conference, he was just giving a very dodgy answer, not going into the details.

      Hamilton indicated he was surprised by Button’s move. I think no one in the team expected Button would make the move, but when he suddenly overtook Hamilton the alarm bells rang. I also think Button was told to give Lewis back the place since he did not defend the inside line at Turn 1 that allowed Hamilton to get past. The team would have then effectively told Button to be a good boy and coast to the finish, which is why you suddenly see him dropping a long way behind Lewis.

      Whatever be the case, it seems team orders will always spoil the on-track action in F1.

      • It will spoil it as long as teams insist on having 2 top drivers instead of the FIA insisting that we have 6 top teams so that each team can have a top driver and then actually race to the finish.

        It’s getting to the point that I feel there needs to be a rule that basically states that teams are not allowed to communicate with 10 laps to go… or that if a team communicates “save fuel” or “turn down the rpms” that the FIA will look at the amount of gas left in the tank between the two cars and should they find them equal penalize the team by disqualifying the lead car.

        I don’t quite follow how or why they don’t already investigate this sort of thing as everyone seems to be aware that save fuel means don’t race each other. Just check the fuel at the end and see if they are lying!

      • pking007 said on 1st June 2010, 8:24

        @praveen Titus

        cant you see that Button making other succesive attempt to overtake LH serves no ones interest and could only end in tears? Didnt you see what happened to Vettel and Webber earlier or you were watching a different race?

        Cant you see that with the Button initial attempt being robustly repelled by Hamilton even to the point that th cars touched, everyone at the McLaren pitwall had their heart in their mouth for fear of the Webber/Vettel crash repeating itself?

        If you think team mates can repeatedly attack each other in F1 then im afraid to say you dont know much about F1 then. In the modern F1, you are probably allow ONE Chance to pass your team mate after which the team usually call off the dogs unless its a direct order from the top to allow your team mate to pass for championship points nearing the tail end of the season.

        • Praveen Titus said on 1st June 2010, 10:45

          Which is exactly what I’m saying – team orders rule. Even if you have a faster car you mustn’t overtake for fear of hitting. The team saves the machinery, but who loses? The fans who are robbed of great action.

          This is what F1 is, I know. But it should change. I know that teams shouldn’t throw away points like the Red Bulls did, but there should be a limit to team orders, some kind of regulating by the governing body, as @SeattleChris opined.

  2. MacademiaNut said on 30th May 2010, 16:47

    @TommyB: I think “Save fuel” is a code word for “don’t race”.

    • sato113 said on 30th May 2010, 17:26

      i think button understood the need to save fuel but because he didn’t burn as much fuel at the start, he could afford to attack HAM later.

      • Information is now up. Webber turned the wick down HIMSELF. He needed to save fuel because he had been battling Hamilton and Vettel had saved some behind Hamilton earlier.

        • Ronman said on 30th May 2010, 20:37

          yeah, but according to the team, they said both were on same engine setting. confusing, and i hope this conspiracy theory crap about Austrian preferring the Germans does go any further. but the story is out and the damage will be done. to either the team or the stupid press that insinuate such things to begin with.

        • Patrickl said on 31st May 2010, 8:36

          Yeah he did it HIMSELF after the team TOLD him too …

          The team is not allowed to interfere with the car so of course Webber has to do this himself.

      • @macademiaNut. hahaha, maybe your right, wanting their favorite driver to win, lol

    • Nick F said on 31st May 2010, 2:46

      lol. Its all very confusing.

      Can I make a suggestion to the teams that if your going to use code then you don’t make the code any of these things:

      -“you need to save fuel.”
      -“you have a puncture.”
      -“box this lap.”
      -“your rear wing is about to fall off.”
      -“it’s raining”

      Formula 1 people are very smart. I’m sure if there is actually a need for a code they can come up with something better. …Hell why not make something up. the cars are so complicated that no one knows all the settings on them. how about:

      -“set F-duct to position 2″

      sorry. stupid post. :-) i have typed it now. i think will hit “submit”

    • Richard in Hong Kong said on 31st May 2010, 9:40

      Exactly right, Macadamia. All this talk of saving fuel is nonsense. It’s the team telling the drivers to take it easy out there…

    • AK said on 1st June 2010, 4:21

      No, “Save fuel” means just that, but “Fuel situation critical!” means “don’t race”.

  3. Mole said on 30th May 2010, 16:51

    In the forum Button said he was saving fuel from much earlier, presumably when Crofty said he was saving his tires. Button had gotten into a better rhythm with this and Hamilton was just settling in, which would explain why Button had an advantage on the straight, but also why Hamilton was surprised as he didnt know Button was used to it.

  4. SeanG said on 30th May 2010, 17:06

    @MacademiaNut: I agree with you.

    I also suspect — though I may be entirely incorrect — that a not-so-insignificant party/camp inside Red Bull wants Vettel to win.

    • GP4 Carl said on 31st May 2010, 10:16

      Its a shame. They have really blown what could have been great copy for the WonderKid.

      Some drives just stick out for me. Alonso being rear gunner for Massa in Australia this year was awesome. Then there was Shumi watching Irvine’s tail in Suzuka some years pas, again, a legendary drive that sticks in my memory.

      How superb would it have been for the WonderKid, if he had used his extra grip and power to protect his team mate from the McLaren attack. The young superstar, taking one for the team, and protecting “the old man”…..

      But nope, they blew it, and now it is PR disaster that will hang around Vettels and RBRs neck for their entire Career and beyond.

      Sigh…..

  5. m77t said on 30th May 2010, 17:14

    the button – lewis fight seemed to happen just as a fair few spots of rain appeared on the camera lenses… regardless of who was told what, that could have given the drive jenson needed onto the straight and as he admitted why wouldn’t he have a go?

    • m77t said on 30th May 2010, 17:15

      and back to the actual article, must add I do not want to be mark webber this evening! I feel it was Vettel’s fault but Mark is about to get the stick for it. great shame.

  6. Rahim RG said on 30th May 2010, 17:25

    C’mon man….after looking at the video thousand times….i think Mark was wrong….look at the onboard camera
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiIc-A–iNU

    • Lee said on 30th May 2010, 20:56

      Are you serious? What good is the inside camera view for that incident? Vettel came alongside Webber, webber squeezed him going towards the corner and then vettel inexplicably pulled to the right and hit webber! How is that webbers fault. I am certainly no webber fan but I do feel sorry for him today.

  7. Bren said on 30th May 2010, 17:26

    yes its clear red bull want to back vettel. would be a shame to yet again see a team backing the favoured nationality driver.

    but mclaren drivers were clearly also told to turn it down. when there was no real need to. which lost button the race for sure. but it seemed lewis was the one not happy. if i was Jenson id be furious if there was aload of litres left in his mclaren at the end.

    Both teams trying silly games. but as proven in the past(and today) it will back fire.

    • Ade said on 30th May 2010, 17:54

      errr… How do you know that there was no need to turn it down??? What if Lewis was indeed running low on fuel? And even if Button had no fuel problem, it doesn’t mean he should use it to push his teammate into a retirement running out of fuel. If he want to beat Lewis, a better quali lap would help!

      • Maciek said on 30th May 2010, 20:08

        …or if he’d been able to make his attack on Hamilton stick for good, which he wasn’t, so I don’t see who but himself Button should be furious with.

      • monsol said on 30th May 2010, 23:15

        If Button had no fuel problem then he should ba allowed to race his teammate. And if Hamilton was at risk of running out of fuel and couldn’t race, then he simply should let his teammate overtake him. Keeping Button behind because Hamilton had a fuel problem is unacceptable, team orders at their worst

  8. Zahir said on 30th May 2010, 17:34

    I personally think people are discussing the wrong controversy. The Webber-Vettel incident is quite clearly Vettels fault and is only a talking point because they are team mates.

    The bigger story for me is the politics surrounding the incident. Horner somehow blaming Webber for the accident and then the stories of Vettel being told to turn his engine up and Webber being told to turn his down. Also hearing the Austrian backers of Red Bull would rather see Vettel win than Webber.

    I think whats going on behind closed doors is the real talking point here.

    • nik said on 30th May 2010, 18:00

      yes this is getting interesting. autosport have the story atm:

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/84050

      webber told to save fuel..

      • Katy said on 30th May 2010, 18:58

        That doesn’t say Webber was TOLD to save fuel, just that he was in that engine mode. Doesn’t say it was a team decision, doesn’t say if it was Webber’s decision.

        • Mike said on 30th May 2010, 19:27

          You know it must be a conspiracy! It’s not like Webber may have had a limited amount of fuel to finish the race on and he was playing it safe rather than get caught out at the end like Massa did in Barcelona last year!

          …. or….. It is just how the brown stuff hit the fan, and people are making a big deal out of it for no reason… Perhaps if Schumacher had got in trouble or avoided getting in trouble for something this wouldn’t be the focus point.

        • nelly said on 30th May 2010, 20:09

          If webber was either told or decided to save fuel or wasn’t fast enough, i don’t understand why he didn’t just say that in the first place…
          and as opposed to suggesting otherwise by telling the journalist to “dig deeper somewhere else”

      • Maksutov said on 31st May 2010, 9:19

        what is interesting in the autosport article is the following comments:

        “He [Vettel] was under a lot of pressure from Hamilton behind, which got him into a position to pass Mark. Our priority at that stage is that we want to win the race. Even if the cars wanted to change position we were still first and second, and it is still 43 points for the team and both drivers were pulling away from McLaren in the championship.”

        To me that suggests overall that the team (or Horner) wanted Vettel in front of Webber. The reason of course being so that they could secure a win. The bottom line is he admitted his preference regarding the situation.

    • HG said on 31st May 2010, 1:47

      I think you are right Zahir. In fact, i am so dissapointed with Horner, i sent a pointless emial that i am sure will get deleted straight away to their feedback adress :)

    • Michael said on 31st May 2010, 10:24

      There is more going on and I’d identify some of Webber’s comments after Quali and look to some facts in Monaco as well.

      First it is known that within Red Bull if you have the lead you come in to pit before the other car, in both Monaco and at Turkey this did not happen.

      Second, Webber was supposed to be the second car out of the garage for 1uali this weekend, as he said in the post quali press conference, yet Vettel somehow managed to have the opportunity to start second.

      There are a few too many coincidences surrounding this now, RB are clearly favouring Vettel over Webber. Horner identified Malaysia where Webber gave too much room for Vettel, well why would Webber do that again? He is racing for a championship, is always fair and tough, made Vettel work for the overtake and got crashed into!

  9. Chris said on 30th May 2010, 17:48

    All good analysis, but can we have a lap time comparison for Button and Hamilton please?

    I want to know whether when Lewis started “saving fuel” and slowing up, whether Button did anything at all, except attack! Cheers

  10. Ade said on 30th May 2010, 17:55

    RBR deserved it totally if that’s true!

  11. On the general issue, of whether there’s favouritism at Red Bull. I’m not sure, but I have noticed this season that regardless of where the two drivers are on track, Vettel always pits first. This is an advantage, because you get an extra lap on fresh tyres to try and leapfrog whoever is ahead of you. Under normal circumstances you would expect that advantage to be given to whichever driver was ahead anyway, but at Red Bull this season I believe the advantage has always been given to Vettel. Strange….

    • Lee said on 30th May 2010, 21:35

      The only thing I can see that stands out is that Horner publicly blames Webber yet it is pretty clear that vettel turned into him. Horner could easily have said it was 50/50 but chose to blame webber.

  12. patrick(uk) said on 30th May 2010, 18:04

    WHY DID VETEL PIT EARLY? BEFORE WEBER?

    • Tim said on 31st May 2010, 9:07

      To try to jump Hamilton for second, which he did. Meanwhile, Red Bull only pulled Webber in when Hamilton made his stop to cover the McLaren off.

      Swap the order of the pitstops and the likely outcome would have been Webber, Hamilton, Vettel rather than Webber, Vettel, Hamilton.

    • Patrickl said on 31st May 2010, 12:57

      It actually gained Vettel a lot to stop first.

      I was surprised that Brundle claimed that pitting later would have a benefit. It’s usually the one who pits first who picks up a second.

      In this case the same. Although Hamilton also lost 2 seconds with his troubled stop.

  13. sumedh said on 30th May 2010, 18:28

    I don’t think their is any favoritism inside the Red Bull camp.

    It is pretty clear that Vettel saved fuel without losing too much time while on the softer tyres. Thus, he had more power than Webber for that 1 lap.

    Clearly, that 1 extra lap was enough for him to overtake Webber. But unfortunately, he couldn’t make a clean move and paid the price.

    Webber paid the price too. But honestly, is he had gone to the right and get the racing line before Vettel he would have regained P1. Why he chose not to move to the right, we will never know. He made a mistake, and paid the price too :). Please no conspiracy theories

    • adam23 said on 30th May 2010, 20:48

      Perhaps because Webber moved to the outside of the corner in Malaysia in similar circumstances and lost the place to Vettel.

      The fact is, Vettel moved across and drove into Webber, who was just defending his position.

      There is no argument that Webber should let Vettel through because they are team-mates, because Button and Hamilton went wheel to wheel and scooped a 1-2. It’s down to the inferior racecraft of Vettel.

      • mike j said on 1st June 2010, 16:38

        Actually, there IS an argument that Webber shouldn’t let Vettel through: evidently, he wants to win too. I think that’s actually one of the reasons they hired him.

        Sure, he could have given Seb a bit more room, but then there was another line on the track where there was plenty of room. The outside. Coming up the inside and trying to bully position just before brakes was arrogant, dangerous and poorly executed.

        And the comments coming out of the RB camp are all the more shocking for how clear-cut the incident was.

  14. Dog said on 30th May 2010, 18:30

    We are not blind or stupid but if Martin Whitmarsh keeping doing this helping Button over Hamilton or favoring Button Over Hamilton then i think it’s time Hamilton to look for find another team next year, because what we have seen today is not good. i wonder why McLaren trying to handicap Lewis to help Jensen, again…and why was Lewis told to slow down and conserve fuel, because to give a chance allowing Jensen to get close to him and attack , and when that didn’t work out then Jensen is told to conserve fuel!? what a joke.
    i don’t like this and really make me crazy, we all remember China and Singapore. AND NOW IT’S REALLY STINKING MCLAREN SIDE

    • Mike said on 30th May 2010, 19:31

      …. This is ridiculous…

    • Dipak T said on 30th May 2010, 20:31

      Oh come on, Vettel got a run on Webber, just as Button had a run on Hamilton, in both cases they should be entitled to have a go. Are you telling me that in another race, Button leading, Hamilton spots an oppotunity to win the Grand Prix, Lewis wouldnt try to sneak past?

      What was wrong with Vettels move is the irresponisble turn in. At best it would have been accidental, and he should have looked before turning.

      At worst it was cynical and personally, Im aghast at the way Horner has somehow found Webber guilty. He left a Red Bull sized gap and no more for Vettel. Racing that is hard but fair. And yet hes to blame. Shame on you, Horner, You lost a lot of respect in this, more than either driver.

    • Lee said on 30th May 2010, 21:26

      Don’t be so stupid. You are making something out of nothing.

    • David A said on 30th May 2010, 23:20

      This is also spam, since this is supposed to be about Red Bull and I could’ve sworn you posted this in another thread.

  15. patrick(uk) said on 30th May 2010, 18:38

    i think martin and mclaren think that if Button HAD WON and Hamilton coming second they would be leading both car and driver championships now ..but THEY FORGOT that HAMILTON is fighter and wants his fisrt win soonest once the redbulls had taken themselvs out os wiining this race.

    • Lee said on 30th May 2010, 21:31

      They forgot nothing. What you saw was two very very good racing drivers trying to take a win in the correct fashion (unlike vettel). Maclaren clearly do not favour either driver at this stage of the championship. Hamilton only needs a couple of wins to be in contention for the title due to the way the points work this year.

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