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

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

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

2010 Turkish Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Turkish Grand Prix articles

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

  1. For that fast flowing left hander onto the next right you have to be almost in the middle of the track at the place where thay made contact. If Vettel had gone right he could have held Webber further left of the ideal racing line for the left hander and then had the inside line for the next right. Look at Hamiltons line in the video of the incident, he is considerably further right than both Webber and Vettel when he gets to where they initially hit,and no he’s not taking any avoidance.

    1. You are completely missing the point that being on the inside going into the left hander allows you to hold a driver over onto the right, dirty side of the track and easily claim the line you need through the corner. You choose the breaking and turn in point. You don’t have that control on the outside.

      If Vettel had gone right around Webber he would have to have been considerably further ahead of Webber by the left hand turn in order to chop his nose off and keep the advantage.

      Vettel made the right choise of side to pass on bearing in mind he had one lap to make the move before he turned his wick down.

      The driver on the inside of a corner almost *always* has the whip hand.

      1. Did you miss not 10 laps later when Jenson successfully passed Lewis on the right going into 12? In the case of your almost *always*, I think the triple chicane of 12, 13, and 14 at Istanbull does not apply.

        Vettel had the momentum, I think he lost the extra speed lifting when he realized he was in real trouble for braking into 12. He would not have lost that extra speed on the right.

        1. My point is exactly the difference between the positions of the cars relatively in the two manoeuvres.

          It is obviously all conjecture at this point. We will never know.

          But you touch on it yourself in your own reply..

          “Vettel had the momentum, I think he lost the extra speed lifting when he realized he was in real trouble for braking into 12.”

          So did he really have the required momentum to make it stick, or not?
          I think not. Not from the outside.

          My contention is that Vettel would not have been sufficiently past Webber to assert control and turn in on that corner. All Webber had to do then was turn in later and Vettel would have been left high and dry on the outside, and had to follow Webber through the complex.

          Sure it *could* have gone either way. Depending on how we project forward. And it is just that, our own personal perceptions.

          But bear in mind also that in Jensen’s case he had time to plan and line up the pass. In Vettel’s case he was reacting to a suddenly much slower Webber, and a one lap window where he had to make a move stick.

          1. Yes it is all speculation…

            I think Jenson’s chance on Lewis came as a surprise to himself, if you watch that in replay, he was not that close out of 8. I was spitting bits of rain on that area of the track, maybe Lewis was being cautious into that 9/10 chicane and that gave Button his shot. Doesn’t take much caution to give up 3 tenths!

            Anyways, highly entertaining race.

  2. Clearly Webber simply held his line, Vettel’s move was VERY sudden – perhaps Webber should have predicted it – I doubt he had time enough to avoid it.

    Clearly, Vettel was in the wrong.

    Hamilton was in a position to see it all, and clearly (and surprisingly) stated his opinion.

  3. For me, Webber clearly drove predictibly and professionaly, defending the inside line to the corner. Vettel chose to go for the small gap, rather than around the outside (like Button did to Hamilton later), and Mark gave him enough room to keep it safe. It looked like Vettel then lost control on a bump or something, because the car was a little bit out of shape, and then he turned into Webber.

    100% Vettel this one… and Horner, Marko and Mateschitz inability to at least offer this as a “Racing Incident” and instead favour Vettel as the victim disgusts me.

    Completely against RBR for the Constructors, and give Mark complete support for the Drivers. Though, ultimately I want McLaren to achieve both :-)

  4. I don’t really care how or why Vettel was there, the issue is why that move went so wrong.

    In Brazil 2009 there was the shutn between Sutil and Trulli. Sutil gave an overoptimistic Trulli no room, he went over the kerbs and garss and lost it. Sutil didn’t have to give the room, Trulli didn’t have to make that move there. Sutil could have been a gentleman but he’s racing driver. In comparison, Vettel had some room just not the room he wanted because he was on he dirty side. He didn’t want to brake in the dirty stuffy and to me, that means Vettel back off then because there’s only one racing line and only one clean side and Webber shouldn’t have to budge just because you have rocked up. If someone is in the dirty stuff and wants to get ahead should the one defending just wave him through? Webber made a mistake by leaving the door open in the first place but he shouldn’t have to stand there holding it open.

    I don’t know if Vettel lost the car or not. If he did then that was an accident but Vettel has turned right in on people a couple of times, in the pits and earlier that very race with Hamilton.

    I noticed what Red Andy said above that Vet has always pitted first. I don’t like conspiracies and Macca pointed this out before me
    “Q: You chose to come out of the garage for your final flying lap ahead of Sebastian. The previous lap you would have been behind Sebastian. Was that trying to put pressure on him at that stage?
    MW: No, I don’t know what happened. It should have been me second. But, anyway, I think we left too early. I don’t know what happened. We need to see what happened on the pit wall. Normally I would go second this weekend.”
    Seems Mark himself doesn’t know.

    Do I think there are deliberate teamorders? Probably not. I think RBR would be happy to have either driver win this title. However, the will of the team may be to see Seb win in the end. This will probably sort itself out in the end with Seb coming back fighting and a reassurance to Mark (he’s a sharp guy though) and they’ll be on their way again.

  5. I have the perfect solution if Red Bull wants to favour Vettel: bring in Heiki Kovalainen to replace webber! He never fails to be a gentleman and opens the door…albeit not only to his teammate but to anyone sneaking up nicely…

    Case in point: 1.48 in
    (sidenote: damn I am missing Heidfeld, he had some really slick moves, and memorable fights with Alonso all 2007…)

  6. When two Bulls fight…its the grass that suffers!

    How on earth does a team give conflicting instructions to her drivers and considering the timings each had, it surely would have been more realistic to let the race flow with both drivers with their turbo boost up.

    Yet again..let hope its all hog wash, however in ANY RACE…there will be VULTURES waiting for you to just slip up once and the whole grid will change.

  7. The argument is not whether Vettel was entitled to have a go, nor does it have anything to do with team orders.

    There is no question but that Vettel pulled right before he had overtaken Webber and caused the accident. Webber is entitled, and would be expected, to hold the racing line.

    The real problem here is RBR’s response to the incident. Blaming Webber without due cause raises serious questions as to where the team’s loyalty lies.

    Webber has been at the forefront of building RBR’s competitiveness over the last few years and, let’s face it, is now at the twilight of his career.

    Vettel is a young gun and extremely talented – RBR obviously want to hold onto him for a number of years and to do so need to keep him happy.

    It’s wrong but yet very simple – don’t put your future on the line even to the detriment of your old soldier.

    Webber’s on a roll at the moment and Vettel feels he needs to take back the initiative – it cost him, the team, and Webber’s title challenge. Sad but not fatal.

  8. Martin Brundle’s column is interesting, he seems quite convinced that it was Vettel to blame and also that RB are favouring him over Weber.

    He also asked Martin Whitmarsh at what point they told Button to overtake Hamilton.

  9. interesting note:
    If u want to see webbers true opinion of what happened go to the post race media panel with top 3 drivers. Hamilton whispers to mark something, then makes hand gestures with his left hand going right then shaking his head. Webber whispers something and does the same, and they both shake their heads.

  10. Oliver I agree slipstreaming can save fuel, but I maintain that trying to get close enough to draft past lap after lap requires throttle and braking inputs that are wasteful. Simply, staying 1.5 seconds back may save more fuel, tyres and brakes than .5 seconds.
    I don’t have access to replays and ask anyone if Webbers line in ‘that’ place at ‘that’ time was consistent with his line there on earlier laps. Just curious.
    My on the spot gut feel at the time when I saw Vettels in car reactions was that it appeared that he expected to be ‘let through’ as if Mark had been instructed?

  11. If Vettel had just said “yes I turned right expecting Mark to move, but he didn’t. Fair enough, a racing incident” that would be just fine and we could have just moved on.

    The fact is Vettel behaves like a spoilt child and what’s worse is that RBR seem to be behaving in a similar fashion. I started to dislike Vettel ever since he started to moan and whine about the ‘magic button’ (and I’m refering to KERS here, not the incumbent world champion) every five minutes. Before that he seemed to be good news for F1, but he just hasn’t grown up. Sometimes you must admit that you are in the wrong – sometimes that’s just how it goes in life but the immature always think they are right.. no matter what.

    If I were Mark, I’d be out of that team as fast as arthur askey with brand new legs. Absolute disgrace. Anyone that understands logic can see who was to blame here, but as he will find getting a top drive hard to come by I’m not sure what to suggest.

    Webber tells it like it is and is usually, at the very least honest. Shame on you Horner (another moaner about engines every 5 minutes… the fact he signed the Renault deal in the first place seems to be lost on him) and Mateschitz. I wish you all the worst for the future.


  12. I’ve been watching this on the BBC website replay clip, over and over and over, and I just can’t see how Mark can be blamed one iota for this, its 100% Sebastians fault.

    Mark came out the previous turn and instead of moving right to take the normal line, decided to stay left to defend the inside. Only after Mark was in this position did Vettel slipstream and choose the inside line, rather than the outside clean line like Button. Once Vettel was coming down the inside Mark completely stayed straight and true to his line. Vettel then drove into him.

    I find RBRs response absolutely disgusting and shows complete favouritism towards Vettel. How anybody can see Mark even partially to blame is beyond me.

    I hope Mark continues to show up Vettel for the little trumpted up sh**e he is!

    1. ps. As I found today when looking for my lunch drink… Red Bull gives me wi.. err.. a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

      Won’t be buying another can of that stuff, and I used to buy it a lot to stay awake at work in the afternoon.

  13. Reading, again, Martin Brundles blog on the BBC… and I quote the text regarding his conversation with Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko…

    “I spoke with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko of Red Bull immediately after the race.
    They asked how I called it on TV and I told them I said it was 100% Vettel’s fault for swerving into Webber.
    They clearly disagreed and said that Webber should never have been squeezing his team-mate onto the dirty part of the race track when as a team they needed to be defending against the ever-present McLarens.”

    The thing is Mark never “squeezed” Vettel at all… Mark took his line, and only after did Vettel *choose* to go down the inside, Mark didn’t move at all while Vettel was alongside.

  14. Looking at the views on these forums, I feel Webber will win a whole new fan base as a result of this incident! Between the 2 RBR drivers, he now has my vote. At no point in previous seasons I would ever had said that – and it’s not a sudden change of opinion as a result of one event. Over the years Vettel simply crashes into too many people and makes too many unforced errors!

    1. Totally agree. Vettel has previous of course this year – turning right on Hamilton in the pit lane springs to mind.

      The guy is so immature. People don’t just move out the way unless you’ve actually achieved something. He needs to learn how to overtake before he can earn respect.

      As for Horner and Mateschitz. I’m dissapointed.

  15. The Vettel against Hamilton in the pit-lane, I must say that Lewis was half a length of car behind, and McLaren should probably have waited a split second to let Lewis out. Lewis should have yielded – as in traffic: if You have obstacles in Your lane or Your lane ends, You must hold back and pull out in next left lane, when safe. When driving in the right side of the road, off course;-) Lewis didn’t want to accept this fact, so Vettel pressurized a bit too much, and for this he was punished. But they are both great racers to watch and F1 is certainly not boring this season either…

  16. Interesting that after all the dicing between Webber and Hamilton these past few years, he’s definitely thrown his support behind Webber in this case. Perhaps because Vettel tried a similar move earlier which Lewis thought was stupid, and dangerous. Not to mention the pit lane incident…

    1. It was clear that during the post race press conferance while Button was answering his questions Hamilton, who was in the best place to see, lent over to Webber and said “what happened it looked like he just drove into you” Webber’ response and hand movements showed Vettel got beside him and then rammed him.

      The teams official story doesn’t wash either, Webber needed to save fuel but Vettel had done so off his own volition earlier in the race. As if!

      A more realistic explaination is that Vettel ignored team orders through turn 8 and down to 9 planning to take an unsuspecting Webber before backing off his fuel settings. Webber was having non of it and Vettel couldn’t handle the pressure.

      While I’m sure Webber is disappointed for the loss of a win and the team, his biggest rival for the championship is now 15 points behind. Webber is actually in a better position that if they had come 1-2.

  17. I’ve looked over and over again at the in car footage from Vettel’s car and I don’t think he turned in!

    Presumably, as so much effort is put into getting airflow to the rear defuser, there is quite a lot of suction/vacuum along the sides of both cars. Could it be that they reached a point where they were sucked together.

    As a yachtsman we all know this can happen with boats and was also blamed for a near miss as Titanic left on her maiden voyage.

    Just a thought!

    1. An interesting theory.
      Certainly the most original thinking I’ve read so far in this thread.

      I think it is clear to anyone other than rabid Webber fans that Vettel did not violently turn into Webber. Disclosure : I am neither a Webber or a Vettel fan.

      My personal view is that Vettel focussed on the corner ahead, as he said, and drifted slightly. Which is why I put a portion of the blame on Webber for not giving an inch.

      Had both drivers given an inch it would not happen.

      As team mates that is the minimum they should have *both* done. And that is the crux of it in my view. Hence, Webber having to shoulder some of the blame.

      If they were on rival teams, not so much maybe.

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