Vettel apologises to Webber for ‘win I’m not proud of’

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Sebastian Vettel apologised to team mate Mark Webber after ignoring a team order not to overtake him during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel passed Webber in the final stint of the race despite having been told to hold position.

“I owe an explanation to Mark and the team, and that’s it,” said Vettel after the race. “Everyone else has the right to their own opinions.”

“For sure it’s not a victory I’m very proud of because it should have been Mark’s.”

“I think it has to be said that we respect each other and there’s nothing that has to be, in that regard, has to be fixed,” he added. “Obviously I owe him a proper explanation, I tried to give it in front of everyone and I will try again just face to face.

“The situation is as it is now but I think we don’t hate each other so I don’t think that’s anything to worry about for going into the next couple of races.”

Vettel indicated he did not realise what the consequences of his move would be: “I messed up today and I apologise for that but right now I want to say the truth.”

“I wasn’t aware of it otherwise I wouldn’t take that much risk to pass someone I’m not supposed to pass at that moment. But just before we got out on the podium I had a very quick word and it was quite a shock and not easy for me to admit but that’s the truth so I want to stick to the truth.”

Webber did not hide his displeasure with the outcome of the race, saying: “I was completely reassured twice that we were not going to abuse the cars on each other because it was very easy for us not to get any points for the whole team”.

“But it’s very hard for everybody to understand the whole scenario,” he explained. “There’s a lot of people that think they know the whole situation but unfortunately it’s not possible for them to understaned everything.”

Webber said the situation “puts a lot of heat on certain people” within the team. “Unfortunately there’s no rewind button now so the scenario is a bit more challenging for certain people.”

“It’s three weeks to the next race, we’re fortunate we have three weeks. I’ll catch some waves in Australia on my board and I think this will be good medicine for me. I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind in the last 15 laps of the Grand Prix so whether the medicine is enough, we’ll see.”

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574 comments on Vettel apologises to Webber for ‘win I’m not proud of’

  1. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 24th March 2013, 11:58

    I wouldn’t blame him at all for wanting to take the victory. It’s what drivers do. But by asking the team to “get him (Mark) out of the way,” he’s just lost a lot of respect.

    • Aaron (@tripperhead) said on 24th March 2013, 12:16

      This is where he lost me. Wants team orders when it’s not in his favour, ignores them later. I’d be more likely to forgive this had he not cried on the radio earlier.

      • The Next Pope said on 25th March 2013, 19:46

        Yeah, people seem to have forgotten about this one. Would have not minded too much at first, if this race had not ended the way it did.

    • dennis (@dennis) said on 24th March 2013, 13:14

      Rosberg did the same with Hamilton. Alonso does the same constantly with Massa. Schumacher did it with Barrichello and Massa. Senna did it as well… It’s nothing new.

  2. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 24th March 2013, 12:01

    This is nonsense – driver is apologising for not obeying team orders. I know that teams run their business and want to be successful, to score maximum points, but they shouldn’t forget, that millions of people are watching F1 around the globe. And fight for the lead was the most fascinating thing during this race, it was cracking. Robbing such moments from fans is showing disrespect. Maybe next time they will agree before the race, which driver must win? F1 is sport and it should be about fighting for win.

    • Aaron (@tripperhead) said on 24th March 2013, 12:21

      That’d be fine if it cost $5 to enter every race. When it’s hundreds of millions of dollars for a team, and winning the constructors championship pays so much, it’s a team sport, whether we like it or not.

    • Aldoid said on 24th March 2013, 12:28

      It is… or are you one of those people who conveniently forget that F1 is a team sport, & the constructor’s championship is what pays the team real money? Vettel acts as if he’s bigger than the team. Without team Red Bull, no Sebastian Vettel 3 time WDC. The driver’s championship isn’t the only part of the sport. The teams are comprised of hundreds & thousands of individuals who put their hard work, blood, sweat & tears into giving these guys world class machinery to run around in on race weekends, & Vettel just gave his team a big middle finger as if he’s the only one in team Red Bull that matters, or that he’s doing them a favor taking their millions & driving their car.

      • Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 24th March 2013, 12:41

        Don’t forget where those money come from – fans. Fans also pay money for opportunity watch race on the track or through television, buying merchandise and etc. And then, they are robbed from seeing real racing.

        • mjzed61 said on 24th March 2013, 14:42

          I was looking online last night at three possible races to attend this year and the prices of the tickets. After today’s debacle why would anyone pay that much money to watch the teams NOT race untill the end? I understand team orders have gone on forever but doesn’t this take the “sport” of it? Not to start an argument, how many times have you ever seen IndyCar or NASCAR coasting to the end of a race (not counting a last lap crash)

    • OOliver said on 24th March 2013, 12:49

      Take a look at where Vettel finally went past Webber, and you can clearly see he could have got run off track or even worse, they could both have been knocked out if Webber decided to play hard. So As much as you can applaud Vettel making the attempt to get past, so also must you appreciate Webber had the right to defend strongly, even at the risk to both cars.

    • GregW said on 24th March 2013, 13:49

      If cars are going to race at maximum all the time, then the financial constraint rules will have to be removed, so there is no need to turn engines down. Then you will see real racing between 2 or 3 big teams and only 10 cars on the grid. These rules have resulted in a series where a car from 5 or 6 teams could win a race, which I think is a lot more exciting that the occassional last laps battle between teammates.

      Also you have to remember that telling team drivers to conserve their engines for the next race is no where near as bad as telling one driver to move over for the other.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 24th March 2013, 14:00

      Webber had turned his engine down. Without team orders, obviously he wouldn’t have done that so ironically your argument is flawed. This racing was great, but to say it was because team orders were ignored is missing the point because one driver did and the other didn’t.

  3. TMF (@tmf42) said on 24th March 2013, 12:02

    Mark did the right thing when he ignored orders and so did Vettel today.

    • himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 24th March 2013, 12:06

      But Seb doesn’t acknowledge that he did in fact ingore orders. Instead, he is claiming the contrary (unlike Mark in the past) and this reeks of insolence to me.

    • vuelve kowalsky said on 24th March 2013, 12:26

      agree, but don’t apologize for it. Go ahead and tell it like it is, and may be compensate at the end of the year, if there is a chance.
      Rosberg was the one everybody should be talking about. he was robbed of a podium.

  4. Reemo said on 24th March 2013, 12:02

    it’s not that simple!! coming up to the final pit-stops Mark was told Seb was not a threat and so he turned down his engine and I’m sure that also played a factor in him choosing the HARD tyres, choosing the tyre that would most likely last to the end of the race.. If he knew that the race was on I’m sure he would have chosen the MEDIUMS as he was on low fuel and they clearly had higher performace.. in the end it was the difference between the HARD and MEDIUM tyres that proved the difference between the two drivers and that’s what allowed Seb to pass..

    Seb did not win that race fair and square and that’s what Mark is upset about.. he got stabbed in the back with the undercut and choice of MEDIUMS and engine map set to FULL.

    • DavidS (@davids) said on 24th March 2013, 12:12

      Mark was happier on the hard tyres, the stint he did on medium tyres is what eroded the lead he had built up.
      Since it was a wet race at the start, they didn’t have to run both compounds, so he could’ve easily done all his stints on hards.
      That point is invalid.

      Everything else is up for discussion though.

      • Yoshisune (@yobo01) said on 24th March 2013, 12:20

        Let’s not forget that Mark had only one set of new medium before the race, he had to put hard tyres in his last pitstop.

        • Reemo said on 24th March 2013, 14:07

          why did mark only have one set of mediums? and just because mediums on high fuel aren’t quicker doesn’t mean that is the case on low feul..

          if you were listening to the pre-podium conversations between SV & Adrian Newey you would have heard them say that the medium was a much quicker tyre for final stint.. sure WEB has high deg on high fuel but low fuel is a different matter..

          Also, Ross Brawn also admitted in post race interview that choosing HARDs for last stint for HAM & ROS was a mistake for last stint as well..

          so respectfully disagree that this is an invalid point!

          • Yoshisune (@yobo01) said on 24th March 2013, 14:25

            Mark had only one set of mediums because he used two in qualifying, while Vettel made it through Q3 with only one set.

            Clearly Webber was comfortable with the hards, and since he had new hard tyres, it wouldn’t have made sense to use old mediums.

          • Reemo said on 24th March 2013, 21:55

            they qualified on INTERS

          • Reemo said on 24th March 2013, 21:56

            and mark only used one set of INTERS while seb used 2 in Q3?!?!?

  5. AldoG said on 24th March 2013, 12:03

    After reading Vettel’s “apology”, my trusty **-o-meter entered the red zone.

  6. If your gonna ignore team orders to take the all precious win,then don’t apologise for it …

  7. himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 24th March 2013, 12:05

    Sorry for posting again, but I want to make something clear to everyone saying Vettel should be commended for disobeying team orders.

    How can he be commended if he never owed up? Be a man, stand your ground and you can earn my respect.

  8. This(he) is so stupid, we all heard on the team radio:
    “Sebastian this is silly” refering to his attack on Webber.
    To then say that he did not know dosn’t add-up. He is always pushing the car when he dont need it. Sometimes its fun to see but when your own team says that they are going to ride to the end without overtaking you have to respect it. See Hamilton and Rosberg.

    Vettel, you just lost my respect.

  9. andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th March 2013, 12:20

    Today’s grand prix showed exactly what I think is wrong with Red Bull’s line-up: there is no mutual respect and their is no respect for the team. Sebastian Vettel should not have overtaken Mark Webber, but he did out of disrespect – there is no way any apologies can make up for that. Red Bull must somehow find a way to let their two drivers figure out a way to have a healthy professional relationship, or they have to look for a different combination. Mercedes showed what a good driver line-up is today.. Red Bull, take notice.

    • caci99 (@caci99) said on 24th March 2013, 18:21


      there is no mutual respect and their is no respect for the team

      I think you are on the right track there. May I add, that in the RB team is like there is an inner group supporting Vettel mostly. That’s how I see it. If the team agrees with both the drivers that after the last pitstop there is no more racing, than it is obvious some other working underground, suggests to Vettel to ignore that order. And Vettel was pretty comfortable after the win, he never realised what reactions that move had caused to the team, thinking that he would have had the support of the team for that one. Only after he contacted to the team, he got the first impressions of the upset in the RB garage. It gives the impressions of a divided team.
      Whether it was right or wrong…, well I believe it was wrong since all had agreed that they are not racing after the last pitstop. It is like the situation between Hamilton and Button in Turkey 2010.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th March 2013, 18:40

        @caci99 Whatever it is, something is brewing in the Red Bull team. As you point out, Vettel might be feeling he has lost his number one status. But on the other hand, Webber feels the exact opposite, saying that Vettel will be protected in the team orders row. The body language of Horner and Marko after the race says it all: they didn’t know how to respond to questions, suggesting that they’ve come to a point where they just don’t know what to do.

  10. MDian said on 24th March 2013, 12:20

    Ultimately this is a sad day for the spectators, to see what was shaping up to be a great race ruined by an intended processional 1st-4th position. Not at all happy with what Vettel did, and do not for one second believe he didn’t know what was expected of him, but ultimately it is the teams that are ruining the race for those watching.

    Lets assume team orders are not allowed and no suggestion of them playing out was in place; we would have seen a great fight between Vettel and Webber in which they scrap for position with Vettel likely getting the upper hand, but as a result, scrubbing the tyres and significantly dropping pace, which leads to Hamilton and Rosberg catching them up, maybe having a tussle, only for them too to suffer from fuel issues. You would have ended up with 4 unpredictable cars fighting for 1st, with possibly cars behind (if able to catch up due to strategy) coming back into the race and maybe upsetting the order further.

    It should be up to the drivers to decide how far they can push the pace and think of the long view, rather than the lap they are on; at least that way a good race could have turned into a great race.

    Having said that, best post-race I’ve seen :)

    • John H (@john-h) said on 24th March 2013, 14:04

      F1 is both a team and an individual sport. Even without explicit team orders, there are codes or pre-race agreements that would prevent this type of racing, unless there is a direct policy of not having team orders (like McLaren in 2010).

      Actually ironically it was the fact that there are team orders at all that led to the fight, because one obeyed them (and turned their engine down) and the other disobeyed them (to bring on the fight).

  11. vuelve kowalsky said on 24th March 2013, 12:21

    I have to congratulate vettel because of a will to win i miss in other drivers. i understand he is well covered by the team to be able to do that. they must be unimpressed for sure, but what are they going to do? fire him? He is an old fashion type of driver. He is there for himself. And i must admit that i like it.
    I only wished he was more honest, instead of apologizing without meaning it. I imagine in the future he will tell the truth.

  12. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 24th March 2013, 12:22

    What Seb did today was a bit distasteful, but how was it different to when Mark was ordered to hold at Silverstone a couple years ago?No difference, both were unprofessional.

    As far as the fans were concerned, Webber’s actions were raved, because he is the underdog, the neglected child in the relationship, and it suited his general gritty personality. It was accepted, but it was no better than what Vettel did today. These guys are professionals. This is a professional team sport and if certain agreements are made as part of the game plan, then it is up to them to honour it.

    Having said this,perhaps there is more behind the scenes that we arent privy to. On the surface however, it is not right and it is unacceptable behavior from a World Champion.

    What would Schumacher or Senna have done? Probably what Seb did, but they were hardly model team players now were they?

  13. Team Orders sure are appropriately named aren’t they. They exist only for the teams interests, not the fans.

    The fans want to see no holds barred wheel to wheel racing.

    Vettel should have at least told the team he was not going to follow orders so they could warn Mark and then we would have seen a true battle.

    What we got was the Motorsport equivalent of a sucker punch.

  14. venom (@venom) said on 24th March 2013, 12:27

    do people think schumacher,or a hamilton or alonso would have stayed at the back and not fight for a win if they were in a competitive car and able to fight for the win. all this vettel hate is ridiculous..he did the fans a favour and gave us a great race..thats how f1 should be..i agree he broke some team order but seriously.. when did any of the red bull drivers obey team orders :), get over it..vettel was much quicker than mark on those tyres. anyway everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

  15. MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 24th March 2013, 12:28

    i hate all this PR talk, he won the race, he should be proud of it.
    i can’t count how many times Mark disobeyed team orders, if he wanted that win he should have got it on track.
    Props to Seb for an awesome win

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