Formula One: Sebastian Vettel Claims Defying Orders in Malaysian GP was Payback on 'Undeserving' Mark Webber

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Apr 12, 2013 02:12 AM EDT
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel at the team's garage during the first practice session of the F1 Chinese Grand Prix, April 12"


Red Bull world champion Sebastian Vettel showed remorse after his controversial win in the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix three weeks ago. However the German now came down from the apology, saying his decision to defy team orders was a method of revenge on teammate Mark Webber, for the Australian's lack of support in Sao Paulo last season.

Vettel also said he would most likely defy team orders yet again, if it came down to winning a race. The German driver completely ignored the coded "multi 21" message from his team, instead going on to overtake Webber, who was in the lead in the Malaysian GP, and was expecting a comfortable victory as per the team's decision.

Webber made his feelings known at the post-match presentation, with Vettel coming out and apologizing, saying he had not quite understood the message.

On Friday, prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, though, Vettel was singing a completely different tune.

"The fact is that I heard that over the team radio but didn't connect it with the situation -- whether you believe that or not," Vettel said. "I was doing my race and concentrating on winning -- and have won.

"After the race it dawned on me that I interpreted the team radio wrong -- and I have apologised.

"I am not sure if I can give you a perfect answer on that question (on whether he would have stayed behind had he understood the team orders).

"Of course there would have been a conflict, as I am the type of person that respects the team's decisions, but probably I would have thought that Mark wouldn't have deserved it at that time."

Vettel's claim that he did not understand the orders seem to contradict the fact that he then said his decision to overtake Webber was in a way payback for Webber's lack of support in the final race of the season in Brazil, as the German looked to seal the driver's title for the third straight year.

"You could say this in an indirect way (it was payback), but it was not intentionally on purpose," Vettel said. "I was racing, and as a racing driver I was solely focused on winning the race. Then I have received a call on the radio, which I have heard but didn't really put it into context at the time.

"I clearly should have understood it, and this is why I have apologized to the team, because with my actions I had put myself above the team, which again was not my intention, as the last thing I want, as being a team member, is to disobey the teams decisions.

"I have apologized to the team for not following up the team's decision, and not for winning the race."

Vettel also revealed he did not enjoy a great relationship with Webber, while accusing the Australian of not being a great team player.

"To be very honest I think I never had support from his side," he added. "I have a lot of support from the team though, and I think that the team is supporting both of us the same way.

"I do respect him a lot as a racing driver. But also I think there have been a few occasions in the past where he could have chosen to help the team, but he didn't."

At the end of the day, with these comments, Vettel has shown himself to be the top dog at Red Bull, while also seriously undermining both Webber and team principal Christian Horner's influence in the team. 



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