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. Daniel Thomas (@iamdanthomas) said on 24th March 2013, 17:23

    Lots of moral debates going on, lots of +1ing and outrage, and it all seems a bit much.

    Vettel didn’t betray Webber – he has no more of an obligation to Webber than he does to any other driver. He disobeyed his team and that’s it. Silverstone 2011 was it when Mark did exactly the same thing? If Felipe passed Fernando like this we’d all be on our feet cheering.

    People are using this incident to justify their existing prejudices. If Rosberg had the guts to pass Hamilton there wouldn’t be nearly the same amount of vitriol directed against him because he was clearly quicker. Vettel finished far enough ahead of Webber to justify their respective positions.

    Red Bull’s interests are not the same as the audience’s, but an outrageous story about Vettel is too good for some people to resist, and they forget this. It’s about racing, not agreed-upon scripts which the drivers have to stick to.

  2. himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 24th March 2013, 17:26

    From the official press conference:

    Q: Seb, Mark’s mentioned he thought about a lot of things for the last 15 laps, can you talk a bit about what you were thinking in those last 15 laps and when did you realise that you’d made the mistake?

    SV: As I said, I didn’t do it deliberately so I didn’t realise I had made a mistake, only when I came back but by not everybody’s but the team’s reaction, I realised. I had a very short word with Mark and then it hit me quite hard and I realised that – language – I ****** up .

    ———————————–

    I think Vettel is just plain lying there. No way he didn’t know he committed a near carnal sin by overtaking Webber under such circumstances in the race. He apologizes (fakely of course) and then concocts this lie that feigns ignorance.

    Today is the day that Seb Vettel has earned his place in my Hall of Shame. I’ve never liked him beofre, but today my feelings are duly justified.

    • Mark’s mentioned he thought about a lot of things for the last 15 laps

      Was “Isn’t it really REALLY stupid to have team orders against overtaking with 15 laps to go in the second race of the season” one of those things?

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 25th March 2013, 1:31

        Isn’t it really REALLY stupid to have team orders against overtaking with 15 laps to go in the second race of the season”

        Y E S

    • Couldn’t agree more. Put that dorky excuse (together with your friggin finger) where the shine doesn’t shine SV…

  3. uan (@uan) said on 24th March 2013, 17:31

    One thing that works in favor of Vettel not realizing the “agreement” was in place was how hard Webber defended the actual pass – pushing Vettel close into the pit wall. If that was Vettel/Alonso (whichever had made the pass), folks would be talking about cajones, not apologies.

    • Webber pushing Vettel? When did you check your eyesight last time? That was just plain stupid move against team orders. Nothing else. You should watch more racing man…

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th March 2013, 18:01

        @breza – There’s little wrong with what @uan said. If you saw the race, you’ll see that Webber defended his position for a while. Only when Vettel went around the outside of turn 4 did Webber back off, as Davidson said. And it’s far more stupid to apply team orders as early as the second race, to favour you inferior driver.

  4. uan (@uan) said on 24th March 2013, 17:35

    I thought Mercedes was much worse – Hamilton clearly was in fuel saving for the last 15 laps practically. If it was in the last few laps, I think it’s one thing, but it was way way out. The same really with the Red Bulls. They made that call with quite a bit of racing to go.

    Regarding Red Bull, if the agreement was such a big deal, and as they saw Vettel determined to make the pass, they should have just told him that the agreement was in force and not pass. RB is as much to fault as Vettel is, if not more so. They seem to a bit passive-aggressive about it.

  5. sato113 (@sato113) said on 24th March 2013, 17:40

    i enjoyed vettel’s overtake but he should have relayed to mark on the radio (via the pitwall) a lot earlier that he was going to attack.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 18:59

      @sato113
      No he shouldn’t. It simply cannot come as a surprise that Vettel would do anything to win that race. Just like any other race. He isn’t the kind of driver who just hangs around and tries to pick up solid points. When he can, he takes them by force.
      That is the behaviour that you would expect from a multiple world champion. Especially the most successful one on the whole grid!

      • sato113 (@sato113) said on 24th March 2013, 19:31

        @mads its not fair on mark though is it if he believes vettel is simply keeping the gap. vettel was charging towards webber to close down the gap before they battled, perhaps mark thought that he’s just getting closer with no intention of overtaking (as that’s what the team told him).

        what im saying is that it would have been fairer if mark knew earlier of vettels intentions. yes he could have assumed vettel would attack but the team told him he wouldn’t.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 20:31

          @sato113
          Again, I can see why Webber would feel confused and robbed, but he started defending against Vettel’s attacks a long time before Vettel actually passed him. He was well aware that Vettel had the intention of overtaking well before it actually happened.
          It’s not like Vettel just snook up on him and out of nowhere tried to overtake.

  6. Fixy (@fixy) said on 24th March 2013, 17:42

    Complying with team orders isn’t only a declaration of submission to someone else’s will, it isn’t the refusal of what you are there to do, it is also an act of intelligence and of knowing the priorities. Vettel should have returned the favour to Webber.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 19:01

      @fixy

      Vettel should have returned the favour to Webber.

      That was exactly what he did. Just look at Silverstone 2011.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 25th March 2013, 15:15

        @mads Excuse me? Webber stayed behind when he was asked to, Vettel finished ahead of him by four tenths of a second. Webber showed himself in Vettel’s mirrors to make it clear he was faster, but backed off when he had an overtaking opportunity.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 26th March 2013, 8:29

          @fixy
          So you don’t believe what Webber said him self afterwards?
          Look it up. He said that he was fighting to the end and did not listen to the team order.

          • Fixy (@fixy) said on 26th March 2013, 13:58

            @mads I saw that. I remember it. Webber might have meant what he said, but definitely when it was a matter of doing things he did not have the courage. He backed off on several overtaking opportunities. In the end that may be seen as submission or as compliance with the team’s orders, but in the end Webber stayed behind and the team had the result they wanted, so that’s why no fuss was made.

          • Mads (@mads) said on 26th March 2013, 14:08

            @fixy
            He backed off from a few very risky moves. But he tried as hard as he could. You could see that. His intent was to overtake. Quite obviously.
            But unlike Webber, Vettel did have the abilities to make a move stick. The outcome was very different, but the degree of disrespect for the team is exactly the same.

  7. This time no team intervention, just a calculated and superselfish move by the worst triple WC in history. What’s the difference? Nice guys finish last – or in this case – second. THis reminds me too much on Didier-Gilles tussle in ’82. That’s not right or wrong, it’s just sad. Vettel won the race, but he lost few thousand fans. Maybe they should ban radio-connection, so there would be less SILLY moments. Also, shame on you Ross… F1 is getting way too political, and that’s always a bad thing. No real fight? OK, I’ll wait for MotoGP to start. FUF1!

  8. FERNANDO123 (@fernando123) said on 24th March 2013, 17:54

    Screw u vettel

  9. totocaster (@totocaster) said on 24th March 2013, 18:11

    To be honest I like the moment he disobeyed team order and went for win, he’s a race and he’s supposed to do so, BUT (this is huge one) the fact that Webber was told not to race him and talking those fake (in my opinion) apologies, make me disrespect him hugely even if he beats everyone in Championship titles.

    Racers have to will with all costs, but not by cheating. By cheating I mean knowing the fact that Mark was cruising, not racing.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 26th March 2013, 14:16

      @totocaster

      the fact that Webber was told not to race him

      That didn’t stop him from fighting at full steam when Vettel started attacking him. So it made absolutely no difference to whether or not Vettel could overtake.

      • totocaster (@totocaster) said on 26th March 2013, 14:21

        @Mads Yes, but Webber had 4.5 second extra gap before everything happened. In other words Vettel had an advantage not to push hard to minimise gap and first and then attack. (Which with those tyres makes big difference). In such racing situation he could spend 4 or 5 laps closing that gap and that’s a big stress on tyres. I could happen that he won’t be able to overtake him after that.

        I agree that Mark started racing him after he saw car in mirrors. _After_ is a keyword here.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 26th March 2013, 14:34

          @totocaster
          That is a fair point.
          I will maintain though, that, that is a problem between the team and Webber. Vettel did not issue the team order, nor instruct Webber to cruise it home.
          But its true that had Webber not been instructed to slow down he could have maintained his position. But it was the team who made that decision. Not Vettel.

          • totocaster (@totocaster) said on 26th March 2013, 14:46

            @Mads I’m not blaming Vettel for winning the race. It’s what he had to do as a true racer. I’m just saying that if he’d say “I just wanted to win that hard!” would be much better thing to do than those faux-false-apoligies. I don’t like people lying. Especially 3 times world champs.

  10. Rodney said on 24th March 2013, 18:19

    I’m really sorry but most of you are missing the point by a wide margin here. To all those defending Vettel – he didn’t deserve the win. You may ask WHY?

    Well, if you take away your rose tinted glasses comparing him to Senna or any other great and say he is a ‘true racer’, you’d realise that he only got close enough to Webber because Webber thought the agreement held up and he was cruising to save the engine, gearbox and tyres, as the team instructed him to. He did nothing wrong in this sense, it was Vettel who ignored the team and the agreement and increased his pace, at the risk of spoiling the race for himself and the team.

    This, to me, is despicable. If Webber followed suit and ignored the team’s order, Vettel probably wouldn’t have caught up with him anyway, as he had shown enough pace through the race. Those of you defending Vettel ought to see this and stop the naiveness. That wasn’t a ‘fair fight’, or that the better driver won, that was just plain robbery. Calling him a true racer just because he stole the win from his teammate who had more than enough pace to have him covered is borderline stupidity.

    • Rodney said on 24th March 2013, 18:33

      I would like to offer a scenario to all those defending Vettel (Helmut Marko fans, I suppose?)

      Lets imagine that your native country and North Korea had an agreement or a pact to maintain peace and stability between your two countries. Now, one day, North Korea realises that your country has something it wants and decides to throw a nuclear bomb into your country.

      AH, i see, given your behaviours, you would probably applaud North Korea for being a true fighter!

      Hypocrisy, much?

      • Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 19:06

        Oh my word.
        How on earth is killing people, and racing drivers overtaking each other in any way comparable? Its probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
        Anyway, going by your example.
        We (the fans) want to see racing. If we didn’t, then there would be no F1. Its our money that pays for that whole circus. On the contrary we do NOT want people to kill each other. And that is why I want Vettel to overtake Webber, but don’t want North Korea to nuke Seoul.

      • Randy (@randy) said on 24th March 2013, 19:08

        I think you are going a bit too far when comparing Vettel to North Korea.

        Call him a liar or a cheater – fine by me (after today he is a liar and cheater in my opinion). But adding politics to it… Sorry, i must oppose.

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 25th March 2013, 1:54

        lol ….. that is a bit extreme don’t you think?

      • Rodney said on 25th March 2013, 7:54

        Yes that’s correct ridiculous is the word. And that’s why I mentioned hypocrisy. They are essentially the same situation just in different contexts. Which shows how much double standards are there in this world. It just shows all of you don’t mind hypocrisy or betrayals as long as it suits your agenda or viewing pleasure. Which is selfish in itself but u have demonstrated my point. It’s like saying stealing for the rich is ok but stealing from the poor is not. It’s morals double standards. In the end as u said, u didn’t mind Vettel breaking an agreement because u gained something from it, which was your viewing pleasure. Double crossing somebody is wrong, no matter what. I made my point. now it’s up to u to reflect.

  11. Michael Shone (@shoney0248) said on 24th March 2013, 18:34

    Vettel went against Team Orders, Webber is a gentleman and an honest human being. Something Vettel could greatly learn from, he has lost what little respect he had today.
    Reminds me of another German who was only as good as the car he was driving. Is anyone surprised because I certainly am not!!

  12. Vargas (@vargas) said on 24th March 2013, 18:48

    With such ridiculous team orders, there will be no competitive racing even if Bernie spreads oil on the track.

  13. Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 18:50

    I can’t believe that so many people are suddenly supporting team orders.
    I pay my money to see racing. Not world champions holding position because their teams don’t think they can manage some wheel to wheel racing. Despite the fact that both of their drivers have done so for over 20 years!
    They know how to get around another car. **** happens from time to time, but at least its real and it won’t create inter team friction like this.
    F1 drivers are there to win. Anything else is unnatural, and I think the teams who use team orders like this are a bunch of babies. They should accept it when their drivers does not obey their every call. They are there to win, just as much as the teams are.
    I applaud drivers for saying no to finishing 2nd and take their result into their own hands. If all F1 drivers were racing sensibly then I would stop watching. It’s their rebellious behaviour that makes them racing drivers.
    And isn’t it racing drivers, racing that we to see?
    I think the teams should accept that and move on. If they hire a F1 world champion to race their cars, then they are never going to get a lap dog. It has been like that for decades.
    Still. I get why F1 teams would support team orders, but I literally have no idea why some fans seem to do the same.

  14. Brace (@brace) said on 24th March 2013, 18:57

    Anyone remembers when the fallout in McLaren begun in 2007?
    That’s right, exactly after Hamilton renegaded on a prior gentleman agreement.

    Shouldn’t be surprised if these two end up pushing each other off the road during the year at the benefit of Alonso or Kimi.

  15. Chris (@chris) said on 24th March 2013, 19:02

    Vettel reduced himself to an amount of s….

    He is saying he regrets to have stolen the victory promised to Mark but in the very deep part of his soul, he thinks nothing of what he said about his regrets

    He is probably the worst racer now on the track… Just having the good car by Newey but no team spirit no contender spirit

    I just cannot say anything else than I hate him

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 24th March 2013, 19:18

      I wouldn’t say I hate him but I do think his behavior today was unnecessary and unworthy for a triple formula one world champion. I still think he has deserved every title and record he has achieved although I don’t like him a single bit. It’s the dual personality really that bugs me the most. When he’s not wearing his helmet he can be a charismatic person but once in the cockpit that changes to a greedy and arrogant driver.

      I think he is most definitely wining the driver of the weekend award.

      • ME4ME (@me4me) said on 24th March 2013, 19:48

        “Unworthy”? So the nicer you are, the more worthy you are of becomming a world champion? .. Obviously being a champion is about speed and skill, and having the equipment to compeet. It’s not about being nice, or morally correct. What happened today has nothing to do with how many championships Vettel have won.

        • Nick.UK (@) said on 24th March 2013, 22:29

          @me4me

          Itt all depends on what you think makes a good champion. It’s one thing to win a title it’s a whole different thing to be a champion. A champion should be a role model and set a standard for others to admire. Vettel does none of this.

          • ME4ME (@me4me) said on 25th March 2013, 21:40

            @nick-uk I see your point and I agree to some extend. But then the question arrives, who of the late greats is a better champion then Vettel then? Alonso did some pretty silly things back in 2007. Hamilton was all over the place in 2011. Schumacher did ever crazier things then the pair of them combined. I see this a a single incident. We shouldn’t be to quick to blame Vettel, and judge his career by this. He is still and foremost a great racing driver.

    • stolen the victory promised to Mark

      Do you people even hear yourselves?

      This nonsense, like the crazed flash mob which formed around the “Vettel passed under yellow flags in Brazil!!” silliness, really leaves me wondering about the sort of people who follow Formula One.

      This is racing. You can’t “promise” a victory to anyone. And one driver passing another driver (who tried hard to stop the first one from passing) does not constitute theft either legally or morally.

      • MDian said on 24th March 2013, 22:19

        True enough, but maybe you are not understanding the facts! Webber decided upon a tyre strategy based on the assurance that Vettel would not over take him, so Webber slowed his pace in line with the team and opted for the tyre he preferred, albeit slower; then Vettel ignored the request.

        • cg22me (@cg22me) said on 24th March 2013, 23:20

          Exactly.
          Webber’s pace was governed by a mutual agreement by him and the team that ensured he got to the end of the race on those tyres; a safe position.

          This could only have occurred with the guarantee that Vettel wouldn’t attempt to overtake.
          If no such agreement were in place, Webber would have maintained an optimum car set-up and brought the fight proper to Vettel… At the risk of not being able to finish on those tyres.

          People saying Webber was slower, what was the problem? Well, Webber was only as slow as he was because of the agreement. He proved to us all that he had the pace to match Vettel earlier in the race, which is probably why the agreement held (until Vettel got greedy).

  16. Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 19:13

    I can’t believe that so many people are suddenly supporting team orders.
    I pay my money to see racing. Not world champions holding position because their teams don’t think they can manage some wheel to wheel racing. Despite the fact that both of their drivers have done so for over 20 years!
    They know how to get around another car. **** happens from time to time, but at least its real and it won’t create inter team friction like this.
    F1 drivers are there to win. Anything else is unnatural, and I think the teams who use team orders like this are a bunch of babies. They should accept it when their drivers does not obey their every call. They are there to win, just as much as the teams are.
    I applaud drivers for saying no to finishing 2nd and take their result into their own hands. If all F1 drivers were racing sensibly then I would stop watching. It’s their rebellious behaviour that makes them racing drivers.
    And isn’t it racing drivers, racing that we to see?
    I think the teams should accept that and move on. If they hire a F1 world champion to race their cars, then they are never going to get a lap dog. It has been like that for decades.
    Still. I get why F1 teams would support team orders, but I literally have no idea why some fans seem to do the same.

    • I can’t believe that so many people are suddenly supporting team orders.

      Of course, they don’t really support team orders. They hate Vettel. Many of them explicitly say so. If any other driver ignores team orders and passes his teammate in some future race then that driver will get overwhelming support here.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 25th March 2013, 1:32

      I can’t believe that so many people are suddenly supporting team orders.

      Many are probably doing that because they simply dislike Vettel.

  17. Gary B said on 24th March 2013, 19:37

    I am a Canadian and love F1 but I think this was the worst race I have ever seen. I usually root for Hamilton or Button. With that out of the way I cant stand these stupid team orders. Rosberg should have gone around Lewis and Vettel did the right thing.Get rid of the constructors champion , we all know what team had the best car of the day. Let these guys race that’s what they are supposed to do.Racers of generations past would be disgusted were are politically correct, greedy corporations have taken the sport.If you want fans put on a real race not a staged one.

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 24th March 2013, 20:58

      I completely understand your viewpoint, but there is another aspect to this that seems to have been missed from all the comments here about team orders etc. And this is that engines, gearboxes etc must be used in multiple races as their numbers are limited in the season. Because of this, it it entirely sensible for a team manager to say “That’s it guys, no more racing each other. Conserve the cars for the next race.” In the old days when engines etc were unlimited, the richer teams could afford to bring a virtually new car to each race. Now, an engine has to last four races (I think).
      So in the interests of the season as a whole, teams must limit the stress put on their finite resources at each race. Seb ignored that today and very nearly cost his team the one-two they deserved.
      In this instance, he put himself before the team. Not something that will endear him to anyone.

  18. Sergey Petrov said on 24th March 2013, 19:52

    The only thing Seb did wrong today was appologise out of place. Everyone in F1 is all PC, cute and fluffy, for the spectators (god forbid we hear what they actually have to say). Everyone must drive in order, proceed as discussed in briefing, buckle up and indicate when overtaking. Boy oh boy the wrath of the fans shall be upon you should you overtake after half race distance as we are used to catching a nap by then. In the PC world An apology was expected from Vettel – he gave one.

    Tremendous job by Martin Brundle on putting it to all drivers in another non-PC fashion.

    • MDian said on 24th March 2013, 22:21

      Nothing wrong with F1 being all cute and fluffy, it is one of few sports remaining where players and supporters alike are fair, honest and polite; unlike football etc.

  19. Multi-21, hmmm let me see what can be made out of it. 2 stands for Webber and 1 for Vettel. Which means Mark was supposed to win. So was it pre-decided that Webber was the one the team wanted to win?? I suppose this Multi-21 came into effect around lap 43 (or just before that ugly overtaking by Seb)..

    • F1_Canuck said on 24th March 2013, 20:37

      They were reporting that Mult-21 is an engine mapping mode which Webber engaged and Vettel was supposed to engage but did not. So not only did he go against team orders, he passed a car using 80% of his cars power – he must be proud.

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