Vettel says he decided to let Ricciardo pass him

2014 Chinese Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Sebastian Vettel said he decided to let team mate Daniel Ricciardo past after initially resisting an instruction to move over for his team mate.

Ricciardo caught Vettel in the middle of the race, after which Red Bull gave at least two messages to the world champion telling him to move over.

At one point Vettel asked “which tyre is he on?” and was informed Ricciardo was on the same medium compound as him. “Tough luck,” Vettel replied.

He was then told Ricciardo was on a two-stop strategy, implying Vettel was originally going to pit three times, though he eventually made two stops as well.

Team principal Christian Horner told him after the race: “We switched the cars because at that point we were looking at three-stopping the better route to you to the end of the race on [soft]-[soft].”

“Then as the gaps weren’t opening up that nicely behind, the two stopper actually was the better race for you. That’s how we ended up where we were.”

Vettel said he decided to let Ricciardo past after he was told they were running to different plans.

“I think there was no point holding him back further,” Vettel told reporters after the race, “he was quite a lot quicker”.

“At that stage were were on different strategies. Once I was told that I decided to let him go and also I started to realise more and more towards the end that I couldn’t hold him back.”

Ricciardo admitted he was unsure whether Vettel had given him the place. “I don’t know, I’m not to sure to be honest,” he said in a post-race interview.

“I was just told about the radio now so I wasn’t really aware of it on-track. So yeah in turn one I had a bit of a look and I don’t know if he went deep or gave me a bit of room, but I managed to get by after a lap so it wasn’t too bad.”

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123 comments on Vettel says he decided to let Ricciardo pass him

  1. Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 20th April 2014, 11:13

    I honestly believe the problem was with the communication from RBR. If they’d been clear there was a strategy difference he probably just would have let Ricciardo by, it seemed more like RBR were saying Daniel pitted only a couple of laps later but was on the same strategy so I could hardly blame Seb’s initial response.

    I’d like to thank Seb for one of the only entertaining moments of the race though. This year the only exciting weekend has been when it’s totally dry, perhaps we should all start doing dry dances?

  2. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 20th April 2014, 11:15

    Coulde be true but it looked more like he actually passed you on merrit Sebastian, you went wide and he took it.

    • Sam (@) said on 20th April 2014, 11:28

      He went wide and lifted. Rather strange when a car on the inside goes penty faster than the car on the outside line….

      • Sam (@) said on 20th April 2014, 11:28

        I mean it wasn’t oversteer. He went wide on purpose.

        • D (@f190) said on 20th April 2014, 11:34

          He looked to be defending pretty hard the few corners previous. It looked like he out braked himself slightly, ran a little too wide. Ok, he didn’t fight it, but I think by the time he’d decided to let him past, Ricciardo had already made the move.

          • David BR2 said on 20th April 2014, 14:56

            That was my impression. He was clearly fighting hard, then realized Ricciardo was in a good position and likely to pass, so he ‘pretended’ he was letting him past, saving the last bit of face (for this race anyhow).

            Just compounds what’s wrong with RBR giving team orders, at this stage of the season, in a situation where they’re not fighting for a win, and where there was no really clear advantage to the driver behind. Ricciardo very obviously won the position on speed and merit, but even with Vettel fighting, the team orders ruin the spectacle by allowing Vettel the excuse that it wasn’t a real battle to hold position.

        • sotiris said on 20th April 2014, 11:50

          Yes, it was very clear that he let Dan passed

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 21st April 2014, 10:21

            I think he defended for some time but then opened the door.

          • icabob said on 21st April 2014, 19:51

            he defended hard, ran wide and faked letting Ric by. He is at best mediocre driver who needs the perfect car. Last year I witnessed in person both Red B cars doing test starts and Sebs had a cylinder cutting TC map while MW s was normal. He had the special maps for two years and without he would not have won. Everyone noticed last year and even LH said the Red B can get straight on the power 60m before anyone else inc MWs Red B. Overrated cheating disrespectful are words I would use. Ric is faster and liked more now even inside Red B.

        • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 20th April 2014, 14:33

          Would more likely be understeer a) with the line he took and b) with his worn/grained fronts.

      • Geoff (@zedster) said on 21st April 2014, 13:27

        He went wide because he out braked himself defending and then HAD to lift to stay on track. Regardless, Ricciardo would have passed him anyway. He was faster all weekend; out qualified him and finished 20.5 seconds ahead and was about to run Alonso down for a podium. Vettel was out driven by Ricciardo; accept the facts.

  3. yihwarang (@yihwarang1) said on 20th April 2014, 11:16

    Not bad for No.2 Seb.

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 20th April 2014, 11:17

    I’ve come to like Vettel a lot more over the past few races because he’s come across very mature when things aren’t going his way. In the past he’s gotten quite angry and hot-headed when things go wrong.

    It must be very tough to let your team-enemy through in any circumstance, especially when you’re the top dog, and he’s the new guy, but he’s got the presence of mind to know that it’ll only hurt the both of them if he doesn’t accept the team order.

    • Frogster said on 20th April 2014, 11:58

      By mature do you mean forcing his team to reveal his tyre strategy to all and sundry. I think the mature thing to do would be to trust that the team will give both drivers the same opportunities in a race.

      Then again maybe he knows the team better than most.

      • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 20th April 2014, 12:21

        Well, for one I gave an explanation as to the context of his maturity.

        And secondly Red Bulls oponents would have already had a pretty good idea of both their cars strategies just by looking at their laptimes and stint lengths. They wouldn’t have needed Seb to come on the radio to know what they’re doing.

        Not sure if you know, but F1 teams are pretty clued in.

        • anon said on 20th April 2014, 17:21

          I would say that, given Ricciardo’s high fuel run on Friday included a 20 lap stint, most other teams were probably already expecting Ricciardo to stop just twice based on his practise runs.

          • Which he duly did, of course. Vettel was the only unknown at that point – Rocky’s initial radio transmission seemed to imply they were on the same strategy, so the “tough luck” call was entirely just: why would he let him past if he was still realistically within contention at that point?

            Though I don’t believe that is what his opponents should be criticising him for anyway @tophercheese21, it was his insitence on defending against Rosberg. That easily cost him two seconds which he could ill afford to lose, to absolutely no possible avail: the Mercedes was inevitably going to overtake and pull away. And, importantly, it is what put Ricciardo so quickly into contention in the first place.

            He should have just submitted the place with minimal resistance and damage to his race and got on with it.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th April 2014, 20:16

        By mature do you mean forcing his team to reveal his tyre strategy to all and sundry.

        Vettel didn’t give away anything that wouldn’t already have been worked out by Red Bull’s rivals. Or anyone watching the race who has a basic understanding of tyre strategy.

        • Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 21st April 2014, 5:16

          Its going to be interesting to see how Vettel comes back from this. He is an incredible professional. His personal life is going well with his newborn… Does him losing that combative edge has anything to do with it? Let’s see. He is, in my eyes, a deserved Champion. I think that its all up to his motivational level to fight and stay on top. He is a genuine racer, a hard working one at that. Never was a needy media grabber. As a motorsport fan, I hope his “fire” comes back.

          • Geoff (@zedster) said on 21st April 2014, 13:10

            Vettel “is an incredible professional”. That has to be the laugh of the past 4 years. A Professional acts like one, obeys his boss’s instructions and does what he’s told to for the company’s benefit, not his own personal gain. You do that in any other organisation and you get sacked. Vettel acts like it’s Seb Vettel Racing Team, not the Red Bull Racing Team. It’s not his money behind it. He’s just sucking on the RBR teat.

          • Peter Hunter (@holdenv8) said on 22nd April 2014, 8:47

            I tend to agree with you Sergio. How he comes back from his bad start to the season will be interesting. But love or hate the guy, Vettel is no mug. You don’t become a 4 time World Champion by accident. I don’t expect him to be down all season long. As an Aussie though its good to see Dan showing him the way right now.

        • frogster said on 21st April 2014, 11:58

          ” Given Vettel’s loss of time, the prospect of switching him to a three-stopper was a realistic one.”

          It seems pretty clear to me you were’nt entirely sure what strategy Vettel was on at the time either. And given the fact you wrote that after the race had finished makes your assumption that it was clear to “anyone with a basic understanding of tyre strategy” a tad pathetic.

          I read the situation as that Vettel edged his bets stopping when he did for his first change of tyres. Early enough for a three stopper but given RedBulls long run pace in practice late enough for a two stopper. The fact his pace was not too good ( relative to Ricciardo ) during his second stint suggested he was probably preserving his tyres for a two stopper.

      • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 21st April 2014, 6:24

        Would you trust the team with team orders after what they pulled in Malaysia last year?
        “Don’t fight him, you’ll get your chance later in the race” [later] “multi 21″

        When the reasoning is clear, as in Bahrain, he’s got no problems with it.

    • Fumbles (@) said on 20th April 2014, 20:27

      Saying “tough luck” when his team-mate was clearly catching him and needing to pass to help gain places later on (lost him a possible podium (excluding the flag issue of course))? It was pretty impetuous and the whole entitlement thing doesn’t endear him to anybody.

      Then shouting and complaining to his engineer about Kobayashi unlapping himself was ridiculous. Kobayashi was 1) perfectly entitled to do so, 2) was going faster than Vettel. The fact that Vettel was going slower than a Caterham was not the fault of Kobayashi.

      • I don’t think you understand how Formula One works. The first goal of any driver is to be their teammate. The second goal of every driver is to win races. The third is to win world titles.

        You don’t achieve any of those things by conceding places you do not need to give up – at that stage, they were still technically on the same strategy. So Vettel had no obligation to pull over, other than for the wishes of his team.

        You can bet your bottom dollar Hamilton or Alonso would have done the same in Sebastian’s position. Drivers are pre-programmed to win.

        • GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 21st April 2014, 2:53

          so much rubbish…

          • Eric (@baron-2) said on 21st April 2014, 8:31

            @bgp001ruled

            so much rubbish…

            Unless, of course, when it’s Hamilton using twitter to show the world he was cheated by his team. Or Alonso sabotaging his entire team because his teammate is beating him.

        • I agree Max. There are a lot of Vettel bashes who may not agree however I think in his case he was right to question the call. If they are on same tyres and strategy (which he thought) then Dan needs to earn the overtake. I like Seb, he is a great driver and an intelligent guy. Like all real racers he wants to win. Once Seb was told about the different strategy though he didn’t fight Dan when Dan (on Merit) made a dive up the inside.

        • Jono (@me262) said on 21st April 2014, 5:34

          vettel would refuse to pull over for any team mate in any circumstance and why would he? what was vettel going to benefit from Daniel challenging for a podium position? there is no ‘vettel’ in team

  5. Cole (@cole) said on 20th April 2014, 11:27

    Impressive Ricciardo.
    Without the pit error in Malaysia, he would be easy third on the standings with fifty-something points.
    Maybe Red Bull is giving something back (and over reacting) knowing the title is kind of unachievable for Seb, and trying to boost confidence in Daniel.
    Didn´t watch the race though.

    • Cole (@cole) said on 20th April 2014, 11:32

      Oops, I´ve made the fifty-something points comment like the AustralianGP second place was in place as well..

    • I would I doubt that @cole – Red Bull still want to comfortably secure second and possibly challenge for first later in the season (however unlikely). Compromising Vettel’s races will not help them in achieving that goal.

      I think it is just simply as Brundle said – Ricciardo is used to driving cars with lower downforce levels from last season, so the transition is not so drastic. But the RB9 had monstrous amounts of rear downforce, generated by the exhaust of course; that requires the driver to compromise entry to be able to get on the power earlier on exit, a highly unnatural driving style.

      That is entirely not beneficial with the new generation of cars, so Vettel just needs time to re-adapt: he hasn’t consistently driven a car with lower rear downforce levels since 2008! The start of 2012 is a relatively good comparison – rear downforce suddenly removed, and it took him a few races to get back out to speed (in Bahrain).

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st April 2014, 0:33

        @vettel1, Hmmm, yes, but it does seem a little as though Seb is now getting the strategies that Mark had for the last few years ie.get the team points by playing safe and not taking risks for higher placings.

      • Once again Max you have sensibly hit the nail on the head. Every driver as they stick around through major changes to regulations, thus new cars means they have to adapt and change in order to understand and drive the car fast. Seb is struggling at the moment. If you look at previous seasons, last year in particular (granted Seb was out in front most of the time) Seb was better on tyres than Mark. Mark commented on numerous occasions how he didn’t like driving these so much. He couldn’t conserve tyres as Seb could. Still we see so far this year Ricciardo doing a wonderful Job at conserving tyres and Seb is struggling. Brundles view which he shared from another Journo and which he said Seb agreed may be right seems as likely an explanation as any.

      • Broom (@brum55) said on 21st April 2014, 9:37

        I just don’t buy that Seb will somehow adapt whereas Riccardio will stand still. Riccardio is at a new team and it generally takes a half a year to a year to get to grips with a car so there is still some potential untapped there.

  6. scratt (@scratt) said on 20th April 2014, 11:31

    I’m with Martin Brundle on this. He couldn’t keep Ricciardo behind him, ran a bit deep at the end of the straight, and let him past as he had no choice at that point. If he could have kept him behind he would have. He made that clear on the radio, and with past behaviour. And fair enough. I’d rather we let driver’s race.

    I also think drivers should have to pass back markers rather than be waved pass, but then I am old school.

    My favourite point in the race was when Kobayashi passed Vettel and he threw his teddy out of the pram.

    It is clear that Vettel needs a perfect car under him, and this is exactly the season he (and we) need to see if he is all he has been cracked up to be the last few years.

  7. Aimal (@aimalkhan) said on 20th April 2014, 11:32

    I am not a vettel fan. in fact far from it. but when webber used to defy team orders we used praise him for it. Vettel does the same and he is maligned for it.

    • sotiris said on 20th April 2014, 11:54

      your are sooo right!

    • Michael said on 20th April 2014, 12:25

      I totally agree, especially in Malaysia 2013!!! How come people do not see how Webber defied team orders in 2010 and 2012?

    • Kelsier (@kelsier) said on 20th April 2014, 19:51

      I’m far from a Vettel fan myself, but I liked how Vettel handled this situation. He gave a clear response. The problem with some other incidents has been that there had been prior agreements on team orders or when drivers accept help from team orders when it benefits them and then refuse to obey them when its the other way round.

      • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 20th April 2014, 20:57

        I disagree. Vettel frequently demands the team invoke orders (and, bizarrely, for other teams’ cars to get out his way when they’re faster than him!).

        It kind of makes a mockery out of team orders also… I mean who’s in charge here? We have Massa ignoring orders because he feels bad about his prior contractual agreements (for which he was entirely to blame) and now Vettel being an arrogant Richard when told what to do. If I respect Ferrari for anything it’s the fact that they can control their drivers’ massive ego’s.

        The fact that Vettel eventually capitulated is beside the point.

        • Peter (@boylep6) said on 20th April 2014, 23:37

          I wish Vettel had NOT capitulated (if he did).

          After all, 3/4 in race could have been reversed
          if Vettel had not let him by. Red Bull are far too quick
          to use team orders. They were racing each other and
          this possibly affected the race order between the two and
          may turn out to affect the final standings at end of season.

        • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 21st April 2014, 6:28

          Frequently asks for team orders when he feels he’s faster and yields to team orders when he feels his team-mate is faster. Your attempt to rewrite history is just kind of sad.

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 20th April 2014, 21:45

      Well, certain things are always different in different situations.

      If a team order is given based on strategy, it should always be obeyed. The team should always be above the driver, and if an order is given for the sake of the other drivers’ strategy, then that is okay.

      However, the real problem is ones which completely manipulate the outcome. You have teams like Ferrari, which are very straight with drivers and fans, saying they have a number 1 and number 2, or they are equal, and they stick to that. However, when teams like Red Bull go around saying that their drivers are equal, and then give a team order to decide / swap the finishing positions, it is very different.

      In the matter of Webber and Vettel, people often backed Webber as he was very much the underdog, and so should be given his moments where he can get them, where as Vettel was the clear favourite. Whether you think it’s right or not, is of course, another matter.

      • trotter said on 20th April 2014, 23:33

        @strontium
        Thanks for that comment. It’s good to know that there are some humans left around here, who can still understand things that are not explicitly, verbally stated, unlike most of the robots that post here and seem to be unable to process context, body language and similar human traits.

      • GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 21st April 2014, 3:04

        when did ferrari explain that massa was their number two? they sang the same song thar massa and alonso were equals…

  8. Jasslyn said on 20th April 2014, 11:32

    Why can’t RBR let them race like what Mercedes do? And why do people call it brilliant when someone else ignores team orders but criticize Vettel for not being a team player when he does that?

  9. runforitscooby (@runforitscooby) said on 20th April 2014, 11:35

    I think one must ask, did Vettels defiance cost Ricciardo a podium?….

    • pking008 (@pking008) said on 20th April 2014, 11:44

      good question. me thinks so

    • RV (@zenren) said on 20th April 2014, 11:46

      I think RBR were counting on Alonso to do a 3 stop after battling with Rosberg. Since Rosberg went by easily and Ricciardo couldn’t push Alonso without compromising his own tyres, it wouldn’t have mattered in the end.

      • I think it would have cost him a podium , but in reality he saved ricky another heartcache …..overtaking alonso on the last lap only to find that the last lap had been cancelled due to someone waving the flag early !

      • Geoff (@zedster) said on 21st April 2014, 12:45

        Are you serious? Ricciardo closed to within 1 second of Alonso at the finish. Another lap or two and he would have had him. Alonso’s front left tyre was shot. Question is; did Vettel’s ‘it’s all about me’ petulance hold Dan up enough to deny him that podium?

    • sotiris said on 20th April 2014, 11:47

      no way, Alonso had reserves… no way he could have beaten that Ferrari which has better straight line speed. This track suits Ferrari better than Bahrain

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 20th April 2014, 12:39

      We will never know :)

    • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 20th April 2014, 12:46

      Given the race ended 2 laps earlier than we thought, probably not. If the race had run to its full length, that might be different!

      Image the uproar if the flag mistake had removed a podium form RIC…

    • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 20th April 2014, 14:23

      I highly doubt it. How much did RIC lose by not getting past Vettel immediately? 2-3 seconds, maybe 4. This would have meant that by the end (lap 56-end that is) he would have just closed up to Alonso. But there was no way RIC could have overtaken ALO as Vettel had shown before. They were much too slow on the straights.

    • MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 20th April 2014, 14:32

      Categorically no, first of the race was called 2 laps before it actually ended and Ricciardo was 3-4 seconds behind Alonso then, second catching Alonso is one thing but passing him is a whole different story, that Red Bull can’t pass anything in a straight line, Third Ricciardo was right behind Vettel for barely a lap and it cost him at most one second.

    • Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 20th April 2014, 17:44

      Probably not given the two laps taken off at the end of the race. But might have cost him some kind of new record – perhaps most podium appearances without being awarded a podium result!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th April 2014, 20:18

      @runforitscooby Having had a look at the data I would say it stopped Ricciardo catching Alonso sooner but I wouldn’t have bet a penny on him getting past. Not quick enough in a straight line – even with DRS.

    • No, of course not.

  10. hzh (@hzh00) said on 20th April 2014, 11:47

    Yeah right. ..

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 20th April 2014, 12:31

      My reaction exactly to VET’s claim here. RIC was already committed to passing him on merit.

      But why not take away a some credit from RIC’s superb performance, in the media when there’s a slight opportunity to do so.

    • Precisely! I actually found it one of the best overtaking manoeuvres of the year. Ricciardo clearly made Vettel defend the outside for too long before taking off to the inside, making Vettel outbreak himself.

      Rather weak comment there.

      • Eric (@baron-2) said on 21st April 2014, 8:34

        @poul

        Too bad the onboard showed a completely different tale.

        • hzh (@hzh00) said on 21st April 2014, 20:23

          on-board replays show Vettel going wide after he defended the outside of turn one. It is an awesome overtake with all the credit given to Ricciardo.

          • Lajo (@lajo) said on 22nd April 2014, 8:24

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tw4U38AuCc
            Just look at the difference in the lines VET took on the back straight vs. on the start/finish straight. It’s the same situation twice in a row with RIC on VET’s tail using DRS. In the first case, VET moves off the racing line and then moves back to cover RIC when RIC makes his move. In the second case VET never changes his direction, drives the whole straight in a straight line, leaving the door open for RIC. Why would he offer RIC the inside line if he wants to fight? Clearly he would have done the same as on the back straight e. g. force RIC on the outside line where he has no chance to overtake.

          • hzh (@hzh00) said on 22nd April 2014, 10:48

            @lajo:
            Then why he didn’t let Ricciardo pass him on the back straight? He was too close and by not letting him pass, he made him lose precious time and made him consume his tyres more by trying to overtake, may be that is why Ricciardo finished at that position and not at one higher position, he could have caught alonso by the end.
            Additionally, he didn’t offer Ricciardo the inside line because he defended to the outside and went wide during the process, he couldn’t get his car to turn deeply into turn one and Ricciardo took the advantage and turned sharply into turn one after tailing Vettel too closely, after that, Vettel couldn’t do a thing except avoiding a collision with his team mate.

  11. sotiris said on 20th April 2014, 12:16

    Dan is not a racer, he should just try and overtake Seb on his own, instead of asking the team to make Seb move out of the way for him every single time.

    A true racer should be able to overtake with skill not just driving a car fast around in circles. We saw in Bahrain how a quicker Rosberg was unable to over take Hamilton and Mercedes did not ask Ham to let Nico pass because he is quicker.

    RB has truly lost it’s plot. So lame!

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 20th April 2014, 21:47

      In fairness to Ricciardo, he is very mature about it, and the majority of the time it comes down to strategy.

    • GeordiePorker (@geordieporker) said on 20th April 2014, 22:57

      When did DR (in this race) ASK for the team to get SV out of the way?

      There was no evidence of it on any of the radio calls we heard. OK, so he did at the last one, but be fair to him that in this instance it *appears* to have been the team alone. Your statement “every single time” is a bit premature until we find out whether it’s true! (or have I missed a media report where we have been told this?)

      But I agree that RB has lost the plot…let them race, don’t use team orders!

  12. David not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 20th April 2014, 12:30

    But then, what on earth happened at RBR that put vettel behind Alonso in the first place?

    After losing the undercut and deciding to save tyres Nico passed Vettel and the next thing we knew it was Multi 31.

  13. matt90 (@matt90) said on 20th April 2014, 12:33

    If Vettel at that point was supposed to be 3 stopping, then surely he should have been faster than Ricciardo, taking more out of his tyres as he’d be stopping sooner. If he was having to let through Ricciardo when they were on the same tyres but Ricciardo was presumably looking after his tyres more, then surely they could see from the outset that Vettel’s strategy wasn’t working compared to his team mate? Why did telling Vettel that his team mate was actually going to stop less make him at all willing to let Ricciardo through?

    • curmudgeon (@curmudgeon) said on 20th April 2014, 12:52

      @matt90 Ricciardo had a longer first stint and his tires were fresher than Vettel’s at that point. Both were on primes then. If Vettel has two more stops for options and options as opposed to Dan having one more stop for primes there would have been a good chance that Vettel would be faster the last half of the race. But the plan changed…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th April 2014, 20:23

      @matt90 Because Vettel may have had to three-stop simply because he couldn’t make his tyres last long enough to two-stop.

      Though as it turned out he could, which is why I think it’s understandable to be sceptical about how seriously Red Bull were considering three-stopping him. However looking at the lap times it seems he went through a graining phase and then the tyres improved.

  14. Nothing here smells right. Red bull again at their best.

  15. VET got a “Default 31″ message just before RIC second pit stop when he queried the strategy

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