Vettel defies team orders to seize victory

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013The two Red Bull RB9s, identical except for the two men holding the steering wheels, danced around the sinuous curves of the Sepang International Circuit as if they were choreographed.

But Sebastian Vettel’s audacious bid for the lead on lap 46 of the Malaysian Grand Prix was anything but stage-managed. On the Red Bull pitwall lips were bitten, heads in hands, breaths held.

Between Mark Webber and the pitwall there had been a space a few centimetres wider than an RB9. Vettel did not hesitate to seize it – and claim the inside line for the next corner.

He walked Webber to the outside of the corner but stopped short of shoving him off – this was his team mate, after all – allowing Webber to reclaim the inside line for the next corner, and the lead.

Approaching turn four Webber had Vettel on his outside and they swung into the corner together. This time it was Webber’s turn to stay his hand, declining to give Vettel the push onto the kerbs any other driver would surely have received.

That proved decisive. Vettel was on his way to victory number 27. Webber raised his middle finger at his disappearing team mate, and Red Bull’s troubles were just beginning.

Alonso out early

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013When Vettel took his place at the front of the grid an hour and a half earlier the two Ferraris directly behind him seemed a more pressing threat than Webber. On top of that, a late rain shower had doused the circuit, leading everyone to start on intermediate tyres.

But within minutes of the start Fernando Alonso removed himself from contention with two very un-Alonso-like mistakes. Caught out by Vettel’s caution in the second corner, the Ferrari driver nudged the back of the Red Bull, damaging his front wing which now hung from the nose of his F138 by a single pylon.

With the track drying quickly he and Ferrari gambled on staying out until they could make a pit stop for slicks while replacing the damaged wing. But he never got that far. Webber – who had made an atypically excellent start from fifth – was slipstreaming past him on the pit straight when the second pylon gave way. The wing folded under Alonso’s front wheels and he skated helplessly into a gravel trap.

Alonso had battled valiantly to keep Webber behind him on the first lap but it served only to hand Vettel a useful three-and-a-half second lead as they began lap two. However Vettel’s hasty switch to slick tyres a few laps later squandered that advantage.

Webber takes the lead

Vettel’s stop on lap six was timed well enough for him to emerge from the pits ahead of Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean. But the first sector was where the track was wettest, and Vettel slipped behind all three. In the dry middle sector he quickly re-passed Grosjean and Sutil, but the damage was done.

On the next lap Vettel set the fastest middle sector time and that was Webber’s cue. He appeared in the pits, selected the hard tyres in contrast to his team mate’s mediums, and had Vettel in his mirrors after he returned to the track.

Nico Rosberg briefly held the lead before pitting, and resumed in fourth behind his team mate and the Red Bulls. Behind them Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg were demonstrating their usual flair for damp conditions.

In seventh place was Felipe Massa, who started second but was held up by his team mate’s wounded car in the opening corners. He then lost more time by pitting for slicks on the same lap as Vettel.

Perez was eighth but came under pressure from the two Lotuses. First Grosjean, then Kimi Raikkonen picked off the McLaren, the latter having fallen behind his team mate when he went off at turn 12.

“Mark is too slow”

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Having run the opening phase of the race on wet weather tyres the drivers now essentially faced a truncated Malaysian Grand Prix in dry conditions.

But severe tyre degradation remained a major factor, especially for the Red Bulls. “Sebastian also looking after his tyres,” Simon Rennie told Webber shortly after his first pit stop. “We need to look after our tyres as well.”

Webber spent five laps less on the hard tyres than Vettel could manage on the mediums. After their second pit stops Vettel quickly arrived on Webber’s tail, hotly pursued by Hamilton.

“Mark is too slow, get him out of the way, he’s too slow,” Vettel urged on the radio. But Red Bull were not issuing orders – for now. “Be patient, only half race yet,” replied engineer Guillaume Rocquelin.

Mercedes spied an opportunity and brought Hamilton in for his third stop on lap 31. Red Bull had to respond and leader Webber had to be protected first. He and Vettel pitted on consecutive laps and while Webber retained the lead Vettel slipped to third behind Hamilton.

But Vettel’s irritation at this development proved short-lived. Hamilton had switched to the hard tyres and found them not to his liking, losing up to a second per lap to Webber. He was also short of fuel – Mercedes had begun telling him to “lift and coast” before lap 20.

On lap 39 Vettel pressed his DRS button and restored himself to second place. The stage was set for a dramatic and controversial conclusion.

Lotus gain ground with three-stopper

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Sepang, 2013Despite making his second pit stop before the four-stopping Vettel, Button was aiming to get through the race with just three visits to the pit lane. But the third of those did not go to plan – the front-right wheel was not secured properly and Button had to stop in the pit lane and be pushed back to his box before having replacement tyres fitted.

McLaren later retired his car due to the amount of wear on his front-left tyre. Perez suffered a similar problem and had to make a late pit stop for a fourth set of tyres, suggesting a three-stopper was beyond the MP4-28 on this day.

It was possible for the Lotus pair, but unlike in Australia it was not enough to keep Ferrari behind. Massa easily caught and re-passed both drivers after his last stop, while Raikkonen went off at turn 12 for a second time.

Raikkonen had spent several laps trying to find a way around Hulkenberg. He emerged from the pits right on the tail of the Sauber on lap 35 and soon after complained about his rival’s defensive driving: “Did you see what he’s been doing? He pushes me off and now he hits me.” He eventually found a way around the Sauber, who in turn demoted the hobbling Perez later in the race for eighth.

War breaks out at Red Bull

On lap 43 Vettel dived for the pits. His in- and out-laps were blistering: despite a pit stop that was just a hundredth of a second faster than Webber’s he went from being four seconds behind his team mate to attacking him on the outside of turn one as Webber emerged from the pits.

Webber went fully defensive, repeatedly forcing Vettel to the outside and doggedly protecting his lead. Vettel received a message warning him to be “careful” – Red Bull instruct their drivers not to race each other for position after the final pit stop. Instead of Rocquelin it was Christian Horner who reminded Vettel of that on the radio: “This is silly, Seb, come on.”

Vettel wasn’t listening. Perhaps, as Horner suggested afterwards, he was thinking of how Webber could have been more co-operative when there was a world championship on the line at Interlagos last year. “Unfortunately the history goes back to Brazil and beyond that,” said Horner. “These guys race each other hard.”

Or perhaps he’d cast his mind back to Silverstone the year before, when Webber had been given a similar order to hold position and paid no heed to it. Now Vettel returned the favour, but where Webber had been unsuccessful in his attempt to pass Vettel on that occasion, it was not the case this time. Two laps later, Webber was waving goodbye to his team mate with one raised finger.

Rosberg acquiesces

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013Ten seconds behind them much the same situation was being played out at Mercedes. Both drivers had been told to save fuel but Hamilton’s instructions were more frequent and more urgent.

Fortunately for Hamilton, his team mate plays by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules. Rosberg confined his attempts to pass him to repeated entreaties to Ross Brawn on the radio. A firm “negative” was the response.

“He can go a lot faster as well,” said Brawn, referring to Hamilton and seemingly contradicting the need to save fuel. Hamilton said afterwards he was “fuel saving for a long, long time” and was “unable to keep the pace of the guys in front”.

“So let’s go get the Red Bulls,” urged Rosberg, to no avail. “Understood,” replied Brawn, “but hold position.”

No smiles on the podium

Podium, Sepang, 2013As Vettel crossed the line to clinch victory Webber roared up behind him and chopped across his team mate’s bows.

There were three glum faces on the podium. Vettel deflected questions about what had happened. Webber had challenged him about the team’s ‘multi 21′ code before they took to the rostrum. Hamilton said Rosberg should have been in his place and looked like he meant every word.

Vettel’s win propelled him into the lead of the drivers’ championship but it may carry a price for his team. Afterwards his team spoke ominously of having “a lot of thoughts going through my mind in the last 15 laps”.

For Webber, this may have been the last straw.

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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298 comments on Vettel defies team orders to seize victory

  1. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 25th March 2013, 2:09

    There has been so much debate around this, but giving this much thought and reading through everyone’s comments, the problem stems from the following core issue:

    Team Goal & Priority:
    Team > Driver A > Driver B
    Each team wants to win the Constructors Championship, first and foremost… In many cases the WDC is their secondary goal, and is considered easier to attain if you have the best car in the field, so they focus on the Team.

    The problem is that Red Bull haven’t clearly defined Driver A and Driver B and have the model below:
    Team > (Driver A = Driver B)

    As such the drivers then bicker amongst themselves and inevitably take each other out of the race, thereby impacting on Primary Goal of scoring points for the Team! So RBR in response to Turkey those many years ago decided to implement a situation where
    Team > Driver A = Driver B until a set lap, at which Driver A & B had to hold station.

    This clearly hasn’t worked either… RBR in their search for keeping everyone happy, has divided their drivers and the entire F1 community.

    On the other foot, everyone feels better about the situation at Mercedes where Ross Brawn was clearly and concisely telling Nico to hold back, despite the bickering coming back from Nico. Because regardless of what Nico has thought, Merc clearly put a line in the sand:
    MERC > HAM > ROS

    I think Martin Brundle was right in commenting last night that to lure Hamilton, Mercedes needed to make him #1 driver in the contract and that played out yesterday. The bad thing that Merc has done in all of that, is played this over open air channel for the world to hear and not really telling Nico where he really stands in the team.

    I just think RBR have created this situation and poorly managed their drivers expectations. I remember reading last year, or the year before that Mark was happier with RBR because they allowed the drivers to compete for the championship until it was clear that one of them couldn’t attain the WDC… Again, if this was the chats they had with Mark and they haven’t followed through, then shame on RBR…

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 25th March 2013, 2:31

      The problem is that Red Bull haven’t clearly defined Driver A and Driver B and have the model below:
      Team > (Driver A = Driver B)

      I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think that publicly, Red Bull have claimed that is the case. Internally, they may have told both sides of the garage that they’ve got equal chances to win. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that in Red Bull, there’s an A driver and a B driver.

    • Dave in NZL (now AUS) said on 25th March 2013, 3:53

      Surely their structure looks more like this:

      RB’s interest > RBR

      No other team has such a prominent sponsor’s man (HMarco) in their garage, fighting their corner. When Mark said, on the podium, that Seb was protected he was referring to HMarco’s power and influence over the team.

    • Palle (@palle) said on 25th March 2013, 19:21

      @dragoll Maybe Nico has been instructed that Lewis is no 1 driver, but when he caught up with Lewis, Nico believed that he would be able to take the fight to the Red Bull’s if he was allowed to pass Lewis. And to fight the Red Bulls and maybe take some points of them would benefit Mercedes and thus also Lewis over the course of the season. But as he wasn’t allowed and time went by, the chance of catching up with the Red Bulls faded away (if it had ever been possible for him at all), and Brawn was right in saying that they couldn’t gain anything in front and that they had no threat from the rear. So I don’t think the episode can be used to conclude that Nico has not been instructed that Lewis is no 1 driver (if that is the actual case).

  2. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 25th March 2013, 2:24

    What I don’t understand is why Webber didn’t turn up the engine when VET was doing his fast inlap and outlap. It was crazy that VET could catch up 4 seconds in 2 laps. As soon as VET announced to the team that he would be coming in while at the same time increasing his pace significantly, Webber’s race engineer should have realised what was going on, and told WEB to turn up the engine again and increase his pace.

    The other thing that I have not seen answered is that VET and WEB appear to have agreed that they could fight up to the last stop. Wasn’t that what VET was doing? He was side-by-side with WEB at the last stop, so it seems like VET was (just) within the self-imposed riles. Maybe WEB did not think VET could make up the 4 second deficit, and did not turn up the engine because it didn’t seem necessary!

    • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:46

      Finally some good questions.

    • Good point. Seb was surely within the team instructions to challenge when Mark left the pits, but attacking after that, down the straight at the start of the next lap, is the actual issue regarding breaking team rules and agreements. Mark lost a lot of time during that stop – did his guys miscalculate the gap to Seb and not believe he would be challenging Mark upon release?

    • randomwally said on 25th March 2013, 3:54

      I think Webber (and team) honestly trusted his team mate to follow the team plan. Webber had already been told to turn down the engine well before the final pit stop (and followed directions). Vettel making up 4-5+ seconds in a couple of laps indicates he didn’t follow the same direction.

      It wasn’t until Vettel almost caused an accident trying to overtake Webber as he came out of the pit lane that Web would have realised one party wasn’t playing by the agreed rules. I thought, watching the race, Webber finally decided Vettel wasn’t going to quit and if Webber didn’t bow out and let him go, both of them were going to end up with blown tires, or smeared against a wall, and the team would get nothing at all.

      Of course, even though Vettel broke the agreement, team orders still stood. Webber would have been just as guilty if he’d chased Vettel down and tried to retake the lead. I think the fact that even Vettel, on the #1 podium, looked like he’d eaten sour grapes, speaks to the fact that even he knows he was in the wrong and finally understood it wasn’t a fair race.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th March 2013, 8:20


      why Webber didn’t turn up the engine when VET was doing his fast inlap and outlap

      What makes you sure he didn’t?

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 25th March 2013, 9:41

        Because he lost 4 seconds?

      • He probably did, but remember mark was on the hard tyres. He probably chose these because he was of the understanding that if he came out of the last stop ahead, he had won and therefore the hard, more durable tyres, were a better bet to get him to the finish line without dropping off the cliff. That was why there would have been a difference in speed. I assume….

    • DavidS (@davids) said on 25th March 2013, 9:25

      The team order is for drivers to hold position after the final pitstops. It would make no sense to start coasting before the final pitstops, as you are unsure whether you will retain your position at the end of the stops. What happens if the Red Bull crew did a McLaren and stuffed the pitstop up. The time he threw away conserving tyres/fuel/engine could’ve cost him a position.

      After the final pit stop, they were 1 and 2 on track. That’s when they are told to hold positions.
      Also, in this situation, it was up to the team to tell Vettel to not attempt to pass Webber, rather than tell Webber to speed up. Telling both drivers to hold positions and go into conservation mode, and then telling Webber to speed up to cover Vettel, while telling Vettel that it’s ok to challenge his teammate is contradicting what was said to both drivers only a few minutes earlier.

      The thing they were trying to avoid was both drivers entering into a contest that would chew up their tyres, or result in one or both crashing out. Telling Webber to retake the place then doesn’t make sense, the damage was done, no point risking another crash.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 25th March 2013, 9:57

      @mike-dee no one starts coasting before the last stop with only 4s ahead of the teammate and 8s ahead of the 3rd. the 4 seconds were Mark’s screw up.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 25th March 2013, 10:06

      Holding positions after the final pit stop has been part of F1 for years, even during the period when “team orders that interfere with the race result” were supposedly banned. Even in the non-race of Indianapolis 2005, Barrichello and Schumacher had a great scrap at their final pit stops, which ended up with them going side-by-side into turn one and Rubens taking to the grass, because they knew that whoever was ahead at that point would be allowed to cruise to victory.

      Monaco 2007 is another one that springs to mind, where Hamilton was publicly unhappy that he was not allowed to challenge Alonso for the win. The pit stops are the big variables in most straightforward races, and once they’re out of the way, it makes sense for a dominant team to cool off and just collect maximum points. That’s why the order for Red Bull to hold station can’t have been a surprise to Vettel, which makes his excuse that he didn’t understand the order very, very difficult to believe.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2013, 10:57

        Holding positions after the final pit stop has been part of F1 for years

        Yes, even if the fans in general do not like it much, and there might be a lot of drivers who are not all to fond of that, its pretty much an accepted practice in the sport.

        To me that is what makes this a big issue, because its clear that Vettel not only does not respect his teammate enough to not go for the win in such circumstances, he also failed to really understand the difference between going for another fastest lap even when his engineer, or even Horner, tells him not to and blatantly going against the teams intentions in this case. That will make it really tough to get over this one inside the team.

  3. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 25th March 2013, 2:31

    One more puzzle – why did VET come in so early for his first stop? OK, his lap time was going up slightly, but he had a 3 or 4 second lead – why not wait for someone else to move first? Seemed very illogical.

    Oh, and I just noticed that I got some predictions right: I predicted VET for pole, VET for win and WEB for second. Unfortunately can’t remember the rest of my predictions! I think I had HAM in the top 5 as well

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 25th March 2013, 12:27

      If you managed to catch the pre podium drivers room comments, he went against the team’s call. You could hear him arguing it with Newey, and being told he made the wrong call.

  4. venom (@venom) said on 25th March 2013, 2:34

    vettel is a legend…

    • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:43

      True ture!!! :)

      • venom (@venom) said on 25th March 2013, 12:29

        gotta love his rebellious nature!! with his all out commitment and those fastest laps. A true racer. reading some of the post on this forum…oh..boy.. everyone needs to calm down and just enjoy the next race..

    • John Braden (@jack747) said on 25th March 2013, 12:08

      Vettel made it a race. F1 should realize that when money (no matter how much) comes before entertaining the customers (race fans) It is a slippery slope to oblivion. Team members racing, should be rewarded. Both Red Bull and Mercedes should be ashamed for trying to spoil a great race. F1 needs to think about this. I do not want to watch cars going around a track in order.

  5. Terrence (@aussieracer) said on 25th March 2013, 2:54

    The topic of team orders will never go away, no matter what the rules are. Everyone knows the first opponent in a race are your team mates as that’s who you will be first compared too. So no matter what the rules are with team orders there is always going to be inter team battles.

    Its blatantly obvious that Seb was told to not over take Mark, but its also blatantly obvious Seb knows he is the number 1 driver and the team would prefer him to win every race as Mark isn’t any where near as consistent through out the year, Marko would have also said to Seb as long as you are winning there is no wrong you can do.

    If the team felt that strongly about letting Mark win they would of said over the radio something along the lines of “you have broken team orders, return the original position”. Obviously it would have sounded ridiculousness and would never of actually happened although for us spectators it looks just as dumb knowing Vettel took the position whilst mark was leading with his Engine turned down and preserving tires.

    Its just all very unprofessional and a bad way to end a great race. Vettel proved last night he will win at all cost and that’s what he will continue you to do as all WDC would do.

  6. I Love the Pope said on 25th March 2013, 2:56


    The only difference was that Mark was not good enough to overtake Seb.

    Simple as that.

  7. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 25th March 2013, 2:57

    Great summary, @keithcollantine . This race had a lot of inner workings going on that were displayed in outward appearances that the teams probably wish had stayed below the public radar. The podium looked more like a wake than a winners circle.

    To be fair, Webber and Vettel do have a history on both sides that is sometimes acrimonious. Vettel wants to be number one, Webber wants to be treated as an equal, both want to race to win at all times. The latter is no less than what any team should desire in a race driver. This isn’t over as long as they remain teammates. Neither one is a saint. One thing to their credit, they do have superior race craft to be able to race wheel to wheel without taking each other out, most of the time.

    Team goals and driver goals are not always one in the same. Especially when you have strong willed personalities that do not wish to bend. This is the double edged sword that is the human competitive spirit. How does one switch this spirit off or on upon demand and remain competitive? It is easier for some than others. It is a thin line between driving in anger and professional courtesy.

    I don’t have a huge problem with what any of these drivers did today. They are competitors reacting under the pressure of the moment, not dissecting their every move afterwards from the armchair with copious amounts of time to choose their directions. They act and react with or without later regrets and recriminations. Maybe they are not always honorable decisions, that could be their legacy one way or the other. Personally, I’m more of a Jim Clark fan than a Michael Schumacher fan, but that’s just me. Both drove with the highest level of talent and were fierce competitors though with different styles and comportment.

    Some history was made today by multiple drivers and teams. Time will tell, along with future events as they unfold, how much the impact of today matters tomorrow. Stay tuned.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 25th March 2013, 3:01

    Great article – I’ve watched the race, read countless posts and articles, and I still wasn’t aware that Hamilton had to conserve fuel since lap 20 which explains his slower pace. I’m in the US and we didn’t know about the fuel issue at all until the Rosberg/Brawn conversations.

    So essentially Hamilton’s whole race was about saving fuel and rubber – for such an extravagant sport, I find it ironic that an entire race would focus more on the economic side of things than racing. Is it time for Bernie to admit that the US sequester has impacted F1?:-)

  9. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 25th March 2013, 3:15

    Vettel wasn’t listening. Perhaps, as Horner suggested afterwards, he was thinking of how Webber could have been more co-operative when there was a world championship on the line at Interlagos last year.

    Its remarkable to me that, as far as I’m aware, not a single F1 reporter ever asked Webber about that. In fact this mention by Keith is the only time I’ve seen it even mentioned at all, anywhere – out side of comment sections. It’s remarkable because Webbers actions were so unprecedented. Not only did he not assist his championship chasing teammate, he seemed positively eager to trip him up. And he behaved much the same way in Abu Dhabi, where again he seemed indifferent to Alonso’s position but determined to keep one driver – his teammate – behind him. Everybody knows all this yet it never gets mentioned. Is there some journalistic code of silence at work?

    If Webber had not tried his best to help Alonso to the WDC last year, Vettel may well have followed team orders in Sepang. You reap what you sow.

    Horner and the RB brass knew this history, and opted to renew Webbers contract. So Horner and the other brass deserve much of the blame for the resulting problems. They should have reined in Webber last year when he seemed to think he was part of Team Ferrari. Failing that they should have not renewed his contract. The current problems are the result of weak man management and poor decision making over a long period of time. One or both drivers will get some sort of punishment, but this was a management failure first and foremost.

    • I Love the Pope said on 25th March 2013, 3:27

      This is spot-on!!!

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 25th March 2013, 7:36

      @jonsan – Actually it was Mateschitz siding with Webber. There were talks with Lewis to join Vettel this year but Webber got a new contract and Lewis opted for Plan B.

    • puneeth Bharath (@puneethvb) said on 25th March 2013, 8:35

      Webber helping Alonso in brazil 2012 and Abudhabi 2010? That’s the wierdest thing I’ve ever heard..

      I admit Webber did race vettel pretty hard in brazil.. but to suggest that it was to help Alonso is little too much…

    • Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 25th March 2013, 11:15

      yeeeaahhhh, I’m pretty sure Webber was trying to win the title for himself in Abu Dhabi 2010…

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 26th March 2013, 3:06

      @Jon Sandor – I might quote this one in future discussions.. excellent point! And very much respect Keith for mentioning it in this article as well.

      I guess the major reason for why no-one asked Webber these questions is because he’s the underdog and everyone takes pity on him. They see him as someone who’s unfairly treated as the No 2 driver despite the fact he only has himself to blame for this (total failure at Abu Dhabi 2010). That and the fact that Vettel still managed to win the WDC 2012 in the end pushed this aside. I think if there were actual repercussions for Webbers actions (such as Vettel losing a race or the Championship) we would hear much more about it. The fact that Vettel is a better racer then Webber and made the move stick (and defended the exact opposite at Silverstone 2011) didn’t make this possible until now though.

      What I find remarkable is that Vettel, apparently with the whole world including his team-mate throwing everything they got at him, still manages to beat Webber and win world titles. Then he does a mistake due to his drive and eagerness (and god forbid gives Mark Webber some of his own medicine) and everyone crucifies him. I just can’t it in me to hate him after all that… everyone is actually forcing me to root for him.

  10. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 25th March 2013, 3:18

    it was either david hobbs or steve matchette that also referenced the marquess of queensbury rules – a double dip of sporting history there. what’s it going to be for the next race, pistols at dawn?

  11. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 25th March 2013, 3:32

    Moving on from RB’s management problems, their race decision making at Sepang was bizarre. I cannot recall the last time I saw a dry race in which all the leading drivers were told to maintain their positions for the last 15 or so laps. I’m not sure this has ever happened before in the history of F1.

    I support the general idea of team orders, but its a tool to be used sparingly in critical situations. The mere fact that your drivers are running 1 and 2 (or 2 and 3, or 3 and 4, etc) in the middle of the second race of the season is not sufficient cause for ‘maintain your position’ orders.

    All this applies to Mercedes as well. Keeping Rosberg behind Hamilton was an abomination against racing. Perhaps the rules on team orders can be fine tuned to reduce this misuse of them – something like “team orders are only allowed in the last six laps of the last six races of the season”.

    Every time a driver tries to pass his teammate there is a potential for trouble. It does not follow that teams should order their drivers to maintain their order on the grid for the duration of the race.

  12. mead said on 25th March 2013, 3:51

    Red Bull wanted a fast kid so they hang on to him for awhile. And that’s what they got. I’ve never been thrilled with him cause he still acts like, well, a kid.

    But I just read (forget which site) and apology that killed. It wasn’t the short blurbs he first let out. They must have let him know the weight of what he had done, and in his apology he apologized up and down and left and right and to everybody and everything he effected. It was one of the most sincere apology’s I’ve ever seen. I think he knows what he did now. And for the first time, I respect him. And I think he is growing up. At this point, I am writing everything else off as just being a kid.

    That apology was from a man.

  13. Dave in NZL (now AUS) said on 25th March 2013, 3:57

    I just don’t like the image that was portrayed – that F1 strategy is all about being ahead at lap 40, not at the end of the GP.

    What stops a team, say late 2012’s RBR, getting Vettel on the faster tyre up to 2/3 distance, then swapping on to the slower tyre and asking Mark to defend him – even if Mark’s strategy is faster over the race distance? Same could be said of any pairing where team orders protect a driver in the lead after the last stop.

  14. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 25th March 2013, 4:40

    What this site needs is a Poll, on the burning question “Were Red Bull right to order Vettel not to pass Webber?”

    Then we can compare the results of that poll to this one, to much merriment and laughter.

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 26th March 2013, 3:14

      This would be excellent and hope Keith can make it happen.

      Although you shouldnt’ve have mentioned the other Poll, so if your idea ever materialised, you could’ve posted it in the comments section afterwards for some laughter!

  15. Russell Gould (@russellgould) said on 25th March 2013, 4:58

    Regardless of the past, Seb’s pass on Mark was wrong. However, I know of no one who has followed Vettel’s career for whom his action was surprise. I don’t think it even crossed his mind until *afterward*. Some people don’t play well with others. Same’s true with drivers. I think in this way, Web and Fernando were cut from the same cloth. I can’t imagine wanting either for a teammate.

    Vettel gets lots of complaints when he treats Mark unfairly (like today). However, Alonso is applauded for “making the team his own” by the pundits for not-so-different behavior. That always rubs me the wrong way, too.

    The net result is that my respect for Mark Webber grows. There were no hidden feelings, but he handled it with the grace of a first rate sportsman. Well, accept for that finger. But, hey, in the heat of battle, right? :-)

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 26th March 2013, 3:18

      The fact he’s a massive hypocrite leaves a bad taste in my mouth though.. It appears he’s just not good enough to be Vettels teammate, but thinks he is and when things don’t go his way he has tantrums how he’s treated unfairly.

      How much I would’ve loved to see Hamilton in his place this season though.. *sigh*

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