Formula One Results and Reaction: Sebastian Vettel Apologizes After Controversial Victory at the Malaysian GP

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Mar 24, 2013 11:59 PM EDT
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Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
Mark Webber (L) and Sebastian Vettel stand on the podium after completing a Red Bull 1-2 at the Malaysian Grand Prix, March 24"

 

World champion Sebastian Vettel created a furore when he controversially overtook Red Bull teammate Mark Webber on his way to victory in the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix.

The German apologized for his decision to pull off an aggressive overtaking manoeuver, despite team orders which told both drivers to keep the status quo and see their cars through to the finish to protect their tyres.

Webber led for much of the race, after making the smooth transition from intermediate tyres to dry, and was seemingly in cruise mode after being told by his team that he would be able to keep his lead.

The radio messages from Vettel to his team told a completely different story, however, with the three-time champion asking Red Bull to ask Webber to move over.

The orders told both drivers not to do anything silly and just take the car home for a 1-2; however, Vettel has other ideas and launched a ridiculously dangerous attack on Webber's lead, which could have easily seen both drivers crash out, with the Australian left with no option really than to eventually give way.

Team principal Christian Horner told Vettel on the team radio that he would have plenty to answer for, but Vettel claimed he only realized his mistake once he finished his race, removed his helmet and saw the reaction of Webber and the rest of his team.

"I didn't mean to ignore the call, it's something we talk about many times in the year and yeah, I should have behaved better today," Vettel said.

"I think it's not an easy situation for me. Obviously I'm the black sheep right now. Obviously I put myself in that position so, as I said, all I can say is apologies to Mark.

"I know that right now, obviously, having just come out of the car, it's probably difficult to explain everything but the pass was deliberate, obviously I wanted to pass him, you could see that, otherwise you wouldn't even try, but I didn't mean to ignore the strategy or the call. I made a mistake, simply."

Webber, understandably, was clearly not amused with his teammate's antics, which cost him a deserved victory following a disappointing showing in his home Grand Prix in Melbourne last week.

"After the last stop obviously the team told me the race was over, we turned the engines down and we go to the end," Webber said.

"I want to race as well, but in the end the team made a decision, which we always say before the race is probably how it's going to be -- we look after the tyres, get the car to the end and in the end Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection and that's the way it goes."

Lewis Hamilton finished third for Mercedes, with another team order, which was heeded, causing Nico Rosberg to allow his teammate to finish in the podium places, despite Hamilton struggling with fuel issues.

"The team did a fantastic job, it's great to be up here for them," Hamilton said. "If I'm honest I really that Nico should be standing here. Generally he had better pace than me throughout the race. He's a great team-mate and did a fantastic job today. On our side I was fuel-saving for a long, long time and unable to keep the pace of the guys in front but nonetheless we brought it home, the guys did a great job and I'm proud to be up here for them."

There was a hilarious moment in the race as well, with Hamilton diving into the pits of his former team McLaren, before realizing his mistake and driving towards his new team Mercedes.

Title contender Fernando Alonso will want to forget this race soon, having to retire after just two laps, following clashes with both Vettel and Webber. Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa finished fifth, while last race winner Kimi Raikkonen could only manage seventh on his Lotus.

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