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

2013 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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’”

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  1. Sergey Petrov
    24th March 2013, 15:32

    It seems people do not understand the magnitude of F1 and comments like childish behaviour, give a win back, owe one. This is a multimillion meat grinder …come on. Where are thw people who watched the “gentlemen’s racing era?” Now there we had some politcorrect moves…

  2. When he says he’s not proud of the win, I believe him. But when he says he thinks it should’ve been Mark’s win, that can’t be true. Otherwise why attack your team mate who is not trying to defend his position by following his team’s orders? Why ignore the team and the other driver and do of your own mind? Surely with more time to think about it he has acknowledged that had Webber been told to race the battle would have been fairer, and probably that Mark would have come out on top. But while he can be sad for the way he did what he did, he can not have changed opinion on why he did it. He wanted to ignore Red Bull’s orders and betray Mark, and even if his instinct suggested that to him that does not justify him.

  3. Sergey Petrov
    24th March 2013, 15:46

    One last thing, where does the suggestion that Mark did not race take origin? He was faster of some corners, he was using DRS off back markers…why allthe comments suggesting Mark lay down and spread his legs? He foight well, best wheel to wheel this year, why do people think his engime was in “limp home mode” and he was catching a nap?

  4. The only way to deal with the issue of team orders completely is to cancel the Drivers’ Championship.

  5. Atm there are 2 schools of thought:

    A) Vettel is right and Rosberg is wrong (Drivers’ Championship more imprtant than Constructors)
    B) Rosberg is right and Vettel is wrong (Yes to Team Orders)

    1. A) Vettel is right and Rosberg is wrong (racing as it should be, however Webber is officially a puppet and has been deceived once again by his team)
      B) Rosberg is right and Vettel is wrong (Rosberg is now officially a puppet)
      and, finally
      C) There is no way that both Vettel and Rosberg can be right.

  6. What a mess. Why do I feel like these guys need to go on couples therapy? I will say though that Mr. and Mrs. Mercedes are only one long weekend in the country away from patching things up. The RedBull’s, not so much.

    I have no idea what to make of the RBR dust up so why am I even chiming in other than to say that this proves again to me my feeling that Webber should have gone to McLaren when he had his chance(s). That would be his cup of tea. Maybe he doesn’t have the fastest car but he is never going to win a title at RBR, whether because of Marko or because he simply doesn’t have what it takes politically, mentally to manage the Bieber-like character across the garage. Nor is he quick enough.

    As for Mercedes, I don’t think it’s so curious. Let’s remember back in 2010 in Turkey, after the RBR couple had their falling-out, as it were, McLaren were in the analogous position. Nose-to-tail with serious apparent fuel issues. Hamilton was ahead. Button passed him but Hamilton quickly re-passed. The team then demanded that they hold station. It was the right thing to do, probably.

    1. In such a tight field with :

      1)Massa moving over for Alonso always if required
      2)Grosjean moving over for Kimi (It has happened only once so far; last year @Singapore)
      3)Rosberg moving over for Lewis (as evident today)

      Vettel needs Webber to mount a challenge for his 4th title, and he might have just lost It today..
      But imagine, if he goes on to win the WDC this year by 8 points :-)

      1. 2)Grosjean moving over for Kimi

        I would delete that one. In fact maybe Grosjean should just move over for everyone. ;)

  7. Germany 2010: Team orders are the worst thing in the world.

    Malaysia 2013: Everyone loses their mind because a driver ignores team orders.

    1. Moral of the Story: No one likes Vettel

      1. Everyone loses their mind because a driver ignores team orders

        Because Webber was stubbed from the back

        1. which means its the teams fault.

  8. Ahmed Alhojairat (@)
    24th March 2013, 16:24

    I don’t like team orders, but.. we are talking about (Team) not just the driver and what he wants, there is no team want to lose a race!.. and the driver is PART of the TEAM.
    Vettel was selfish and just thinking about himself

  9. Ok, this might not be the right thing to do, but I found the press conference after Silverstone 2011. There are some interesting bits, like this one.

    Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro) Mark, Christian Horner has said that you should be fine with the team orders at the end and if you and Seb had raced until the end you would both have ended up in the fence. Do you agree with that? Was it the right call? Does this mean realistically that you are out of this championship?
    MW: I am not fine with it. No. That’s the answer to that. If Fernando retires on the last lap we are battling for the victory so I was fine until the end. Of course I ignored the team as I want to try and get another place. Seb was doing his best and I was doing my best. I don’t want to crash with anyone, but that was it. I tried to do my best with the amount of conversation I had. One-way conversation obviously as I wasn’t talking too much back. There was a lot of traffic coming to me, but I was still trying to do my best to pass the guy in front.

    Q:(Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro) Do you remember roughly how many messages you had?
    MW: Probably four or five.

    It’s good to see that Mark said that he refused team orders and he raced as hard as he could, while today Vettel said that he didn’t want to go against the team and he wasn’t aware of the situation. It’s a shame, but I can understand why he did that.

    The thing that surprised me is that Vettel wasn’t upset at all back in 2011. He was perfectly fine with Webber trying to overtake him in the closing stages of the race. The team was not, if I remember well, but they didn’t point fingers at Webber too much. Though it’s fair to say that Horner had to defend from the media, team orders were a new thing for Red Bull at the time.

    I don’t understand all this mess about today. Yeah, sure, Seb took some risks and I understand that the team didn’t want that. But Mark way too upset about it. He showed Seb his middle finger on track, he crossed the finishing line very far from the team and from Vettel. Horner and Newey were very critical, too.

    I don’t know what to make of it. In my opinion the situation is not too different compared to Silverstone 2011. It’s true that Webber didn’t overtake Vettel two years ago, but he tried. Either there is something I am missing, or some people overreacted a bit.

    1. good post.

      It shows that driver do indeed ignore team orders.

      1. drivers*

  10. I don’t agree with team orders in F1, I don’t like team orders within F1… but I do believe in respect and integrity, if you agree to race up until the last pitstop, then you should abide by that agreement.

    I have tons of respect for Vettel as a driver, but now zero as a decent human being

    1. @f1bettingguru

      I have tons of respect for Vettel as a driver, but now zero as a decent human being


  11. He does not need to apologise. Webber ignored TO at Silverstone 2011. So did Button and Hamilton in Turkey 2010. If we do not see such actions in racing and just wait for strategic mistakes, then we’d better watch chess. Then, Webber left the same room for SV as Schumacher did in Hungaroring 2010 (for Barrichello). Webber must convince the team by getting poles and controlling the lead otherwise he will get the same treatment Massa and Barrichello had. If I were Mateschietz, I would have fired Webber (I am billionaire and terminating this contract is oh so easy), because he will definitely retaliate.

  12. I have always thought Vettel seems like a nice bloke out of the car and a complete tool in it. Today showed the line is much more blurred. A gentleman would never have done what he did today but a ruthless sportsman would have… Schumacher probably would have done the same, a Roger Federer character probably wouldn’t – so gentleman and ruthless sportsman are not mutually exclusive. I am also in the camp that feels that Vettel does still have something to prove… today, initially, I thought this victory seemed a really good one not like one where he just drove the quickest car. Then we found out the circumstances and it doesn’t seem quite as good. In any other walk of life if an employee flouted an instruction they would be punished. It will be interesting if Red Bull do the same.

  13. Sorry, but I don’t understand the people defending Vettel. In the past, team orders against Mark had been “look, we know you have the faster car, but Sebastian needs these points”. As much as people are saying that Webber ‘doesn’t follow team orders’, he still maintains position in the end (see: Silverstone 2011). He showed his displeasure for the team orders, but he didn’t pass Sebastian. I can respect that.

    In this situation, Mark had the faster car for most of the race. It wasn’t a Merc situation where they were giving the driver in front free points; RBR were worried about 1) a repeat of Turkey 2010 and 2) not completely abusing the tires in case Hamilton/Rosberg caught up. Mark had the car to stay in front, but followed the team orders and turned his engine down. Seb passing him in that situation is the equivalent of a sucker punch, or, as someone else put it, attacking the enemy during a ceasefire. I’m not a fan of team orders, but what Seb did was absolutely dirty, especially considering how many times Webber had helped him out.

    I would say I’d lost respect for him, but I had very little to begin with.

    1. As much as people are saying that Webber ‘doesn’t follow team orders’, he still maintains position in the end (see: Silverstone 2011). He showed his displeasure for the team orders, but he didn’t pass Sebastian. I can respect that.

      @utbowler0407 – See @yobo01 ‘s post. Webber tried and failed.

      1. But in the end, Webber didn’t pass him. Look at the video from when Seb and Mark were battling for position in Silverstone; it’s clear that Mark was trying to put pressure on Seb, but he was much more cautious about it (i.e. when he gets alongside, he could’ve kept his nose in there, but he backed off). Vettel’s pass on Webber today could’ve easily ended up with both of them out of the race. Getting that close to the wall was, in my opinion, stupid.

        If Seb had said “I’m ignoring team orders, tell Mark let’s race”, I’d be okay with that (well, I think it’d be a bit childish, but it’s more honorable). It’s the fact that he basically suckerpunched Mark when Mark was following orders (and after Mark had played the support role so many times) that bothers me.

        1. @utbowler0407 – Not passing him doesn’t mean he followed team orders- he closed up to Vettel and got alongside at one point. In his own words “There was a lot of traffic coming to me, but I was still trying to do my best to pass the guy in front.”

          Remember that Webber came out of the pits immediately in front of Vettel and had to defend. By that point, he should have realised Vettel was either too close, or wasn’t following orders. However I believe Vettel shouldn’t have come up with an “apology” afterwards.

          1. @david-a true, Webber didn’t exactly follow the team’s instructions. But he didn’t pass Vettel. Vettel’s breach of team orders was more egregious, and changed the result of the race; the two situations aren’t very comparable for that reason.

            Also, I fail to see how that’s Mark’s fault for not realizing that. He came out right ahead of Vettel, fended him off, and kept the lead. If I were in that situation, I would assume that since I got out ahead of him and we were both told to turn the engines down, that he wouldn’t pass.

          2. @utbowler0407

            Also, I fail to see how that’s Mark’s fault for not realizing that. He came out right ahead of Vettel, fended him off, and kept the lead. If I were in that situation, I would assume that since I got out ahead of him and we were both told to turn the engines down, that he wouldn’t pass.

            I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. For me, logic dictates that Vettel would keep trying to get the lead.

  14. billabong 23
    24th March 2013, 17:00

    Flip it round vettel leading and webber had overtaken in the same way, horner, marko, newey and especialy vettel would have been whinning like an old woman with gout.

    1. Flip it round, Vettel leading and Webber overtakes (or tries to), after team orders, everybody cheers at Webber.

  15. Sergey Petrov
    24th March 2013, 17:10

    Why does everyone think Mark got sucker punched? Engine modes are on the steering wheel and do not require a 10 lap build up to switch. Tje situation was not jump and run, Mark had enough time to adjust map, dif, harvesting and bias. As mentioned, he was running DRS off backmarkers and was as fast accelerating off apexes? Wake up.

    1. Yeah I thought the same thing initially. However, if Webber was indeed told that there will be no overtaking (which we need to confirm) the damage would have already done once Vettel got to within the DRS zone. All this is speculation as we dont fully know what was said to whom on the radio.

  16. Interesting reading the comments here. Back in Hockenheim 2010 everyone was up in arms over the use of team orders when they were illegal. Now that they are legal, people are up in arms that one driver has disobeyed them?

    I’m finding it hard which side of the fence to come down on here. You have to applaud Vettel for taking the initiative and his “win at all costs” mentality. It was pure racing, something we all want to see. But then, on the other hand, he went against a direct team order to overtake? If you were told by your boss to do one thing, who can honestly say they would have the nerve to do the complete opposite?

    Further to that, you have to ask what would happen if the roles had been reversed, where Webber had done the dirty on Seb? Given the history of events at the team, between the drivers and Seb’s position in the team, you could guarentee that Mark would be out of the job before Monday morning.

    Interestingly, more people seem sympathetic to Rosberg here for following team orders. He could (and to my mind, should) have stuck a move on Hamilton in the closing stages of the race, he was clearly faster and surely had more fuel on board. Perhaps he could have taken the fight to the Red Bulls and made them worry a little bit.

    1. Urm, you do know right that Mark’s engine was turned down? So it wasn’t a mano-a-mano battle. Kind of an act of coward by Vettel. And then later on he doesn’t even have to courage to own up, choosing to feign ignorance instead.

      Rosberg meanwhile has only himself to blame. He passed Hamilton a couple of times but never managed to make the move stick. So, he was in fact given the opportunity, but didn’t make full use of it. At this point, seeing so close action, Ross Brawn decides to step in to ensure no untoward incident takes place.

      1. I dont buy your reasoning there. As Rosberg said, if the Red Bulls had hypothetically ran into trouble, he needed to be there ready to pounce.

    2. Now that they are legal, people are up in arms that one driver has disobeyed them?

      Just one particular driver, yes.

      you have to ask what would happen if the roles had been reversed, where Webber had done the dirty on Seb?

      Done the dirty? Have any of the commenters here bothered to watch the race yet? I know it was on at an awkward hour, but still ..

      Contrary to what some people seem to think from reading news reports, Webber and Vettel were going at it hammer and tongs for a long time. Vettel did not in fact sneak past an unsuspecting Webber who was unprepared for such a dastardly move.

      1. Seemed clear to me. Vettel hadn’t turned down his engine and maintained possition – Multi 21. I did watch the race, I know what I saw, thank you.

        1. @jamesf1
          Do you really believe that Webber was running on decreased power once Vettel caught him? It certainly didn’t come as a surprise. Nor does it take a long time to press a few buttons.
          If Webber was running on anything but full steam then it would be his own fault anyway. That simply cannot be Vettel’s problem.

          1. Maybe he turned it up (maybe) once Vettel caught him, but the damage was already done. Once you get within the DRS zone, you have the upper hand over the car in front.

  17. Sergey Petrov
    24th March 2013, 17:14

    Mark did not have a faster car “most” of the rave, he almost pushed Vettel into Hamilton. Vettel was told 3 sec to which DC had a long chat o RBR figuring this as optimum distance for tyre managment. But that put Vettel in Hamilton DRS zone and so he pushed on into Webber comfort zone and later affecting pit windows. Lets watch whole race and judge on whole race…

  18. Best moment of the race in spite of personal motivations and team orders.

    I would just like to give a shout out to Martin Brundle for conducting a fantastic podium interview, there was never a moment where he even tried to be subtle about what had just taken place on track. I hope he gets the honor every race from now on.

    1. Martin did a superb job. Give the man his own talk show… and allow firearms!

  19. I think one aspect has been missed in the discussion so far. Since Seb clearly cannot be trusted to keep any internal agreements from here on in, Mark will have to assume that they will race at full pelt whenever they are together on the track. That will without doubt put a lot more strain on the machinery, finite number of engines and gearboxes etc and will affect the teams fuel calculations – these factors can easily swing the WDC in the direction of Alonso or other challenger.
    And it would serve Seb right if he lost the WDC because of mechanical failures brought on by having to battle his teammate to the flag week in and week out.

  20. There’s a place for team orders in F1. I’m not one of those who hates team orders under any circumstances. But the second race of the season? With at least a dozen laps still to go?

    Shocking decisions by both RB and Mercedes. This sort of thing makes a mockery of the sport.

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