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. James (@jamesf1) said on 24th March 2013, 17:13

    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.

    • himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 24th March 2013, 17:30

      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.

    • 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.

      • James (@jamesf1) said on 24th March 2013, 17:35

        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.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 24th March 2013, 18:54

          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.

          • himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 25th March 2013, 1:26

            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.

  2. Sergey Petrov said on 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…

  3. BS (@bs) said on 24th March 2013, 17:15

    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.

  4. ChrisRacer (@chrisracer) said on 24th March 2013, 17:17

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

      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

          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.

  11. 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


      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

          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

            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.

  12. 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!

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

    Screw u vettel

  14. 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


      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

          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.

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