What Really Upset Us About ‘Multi 21’?

It’s the Monday after the Malaysian Grand Prix and across the globe, written media is hitting the shelves with reports about the “controversial Malaysian Grand Prix”, but what made it so controversial?

Obviously there is an unease within the team. You can’t go ignoring team-orders to such a large-scale. Even Dr. Helmut Marko who is infamous for his support of Vettel, admitted to the media that the team will be speaking to the young German in an attempt to slap some obedience into him.

But what made the fans so upset? Two completely different things happened at two different teams during the race. Red Bull had a leading driver whom they assured would be kept in front with team orders. So did Mercedes. Red Bull’s driver opted not to listen to the team orders, instead launching a vicious campaign against his team-mate, one he eventually won. Mercedes’ driver did quite the opposite, taking to the team radio to plead with Ross Brawn to let him pass team-mate Hamilton, but to no avail.

Both situations were met with criticism by fans, so why? Vettel, they claim, was wrong to defy team orders while Rosberg, they say, was victimized by the team imposing team-orders on him and that Nico should have ignored them. This makes no sense – one person making both statements is highly contradictory. So what’s the problem? Where does this contradictory nature come from?

I’ve decided it must be a personal attack on Sebastian Vettel. ‘Baby Schumi’ as he was called, is setting out in a similar path to his German idol, winning three consecutive World Championships – and making no friends in the process. It gets tiresome and boring to see the same man storming away at the front every Grand Prix and eventually, one gets tired of the driver himself.

What did Vettel really do? He fought his team-mate coming out of the pits and then challenged him again a few laps later – even though it did get close – and he made it past Webber and into the lead. Apart from that, he defied team orders from Red Bull while Christian Horner radioed the German with the words “This is silly, Seb. Come on.” Mark Webber has taken radio silence himself on some occasions such as the 2011 British Grand Prix, and he got away with it, the fans even siding with the Aussie and claiming it was unfair. Again, where’s the consistency.

Another account on Twitter made an interesting point claiming that if Ayrton Senna had done exactly what Vettel had today done, then it would have been legendary. And they were right! Think about if Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen had made such a move, would it be met as harshly?

What do you think? Leave a comment or tweet me @BenSweeneyF1.

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37 Comments

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37 responses to “What Really Upset Us About ‘Multi 21’?

  1. StevieC

    Personally, I think team orders are fine, in moderation. It’s easy to forget, as a fan, that it’s not just a bit of fun on a Sunday afternoon for these guys. There are undoubtedly purists that will say that all cars should race each other at all points because it is ‘a race’. And fair enough, it’s a valid point. But I think Red Bull were right to impose instructions to their drivers. The drivers were first and second, and with a comfortable gap to the Mercedes’ behind. They’d had the chance to race; both knew that the instruction would come into play at the last pit stop. It made no sense for Webber and Vettel to continue to fight and risk losing it all. Ok, they didn’t this time, but if I’m honest, if Webber wanted to, he could’ve continued that battle, as he easily could’ve squeezed Vettel out at the exit of Turn 4.
    I think the problem people seem to have with Vettel is that he gets it all too easily. I also think that the older he gets, the more arrogant he is becoming. Personally, I was frustrated at him when he radioed, ‘Get Mark out of the way, he’s too slow.’ That was much earlier in the race, that should’ve been the time to overtake Mark, if Mark was indeed ‘too slow’ (Needless to say, Mark did pull away for the next few laps). That sort of message, in the tone of voice it was delivered is cocky and unnecessary. And then for him to ignore his employers was unacceptable. Especially when you think of all the times Webber has sat behind Vettel when he has been told to hold station, and has.
    After the Malaysian Grand Prix, Martin Brundle said that when he interviewed the drivers on the podium in Melbourne, Vettel was booed. That’s hardly going to become less frequent after Sunday’s performance. As a fan, I was enjoying the race until Vettel behaved in the manner that he did. The racing between the two was great, but you could almost see, in the way that Webber defended, he didn’t suspect Vettel’s attacks and certainly wasn’t prepared for them. After it was clear that Vettel had been told to hold position, the race itself became awkward. I was sat watching it with a friend and we both felt like it was horrible to watch. The build-up to, and the podium itself were horrid, nobody was happy. Webber was furious, Hamilton felt guilty, and Vettel looked regretful.
    That isn’t what you want to see. You want to see them jumping and spraying the champagne and cheering. That wasn’t entertainment. That was cringe-worthy
    Now, the difference between Red Bull’s and Mercedes’ team orders was this; Nico asked a couple of times to pass Lewis. He didn’t take matters into his own hands, he played the team game, right to the end. He challenged Ross Brawn over the radio, who stubbornly denied his request. With just a few laps to the end, it did seem a little pointless for Nico to pass Lewis, and try and close down a 10-second-ish gap. It would’ve been unfair for Ross to allow Nico to pass Lewis, and then not to have caught up to the Red Bulls when it was Lewis who had been behind the leaders the whole race. Also, I honestly do believe that there will come a time in the rest of the season where Lewis will repay the favour, and not overtake Nico.

    An apology only means something if actions follow it. I can’t see Webber being tricked again. He’ll be ready next time.
    I do think that if a similar scenario were to occur, Vettel would defy orders again. But I don’t think Webber will. I think Mark will play the team game.

    I don’t mind team orders that tell drivers to hold position. I dislike those that tell one driver to let their team-mate. That isn’t fair.

    • Dougie

      I enjoyed reading this comment, couldn’t agree more with what’s said. I believe a few points are missing though (to assist context). Both drivers are worthy of being in the top team but Mark was posting the fast laps at this point, he had played his cards correctly this race. With the limit on gear boxes for the season, etc, it only makes sense in some regard to conserve if the results are going to be the same. We all know Mark had turned down his engine and Seb hadn’t. On another note, a few days ago Seb said in the media that Mark didn’t deserve it. Please explain how a driver in 1st, pulling faster laps doesn’t deserve the win? I have no time for Vettel after that.

  2. Jade

    In my opinion, something rather small was blown out of proportion, this is not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last, team orders aren’t always followed (notably by Mark Webber in other races) because sometimes the teams take the race into their hands and plan their result way before the cars have reached the chequered flag. That was the problem, Mark said he was willing to sprint to the finish and if that had been the case, it would of been a fair fight, but Red Bull (also Mercedes) decided to play it extremely safe by effectively stopping the racing within their team with a considerable amount of laps to the end. Sebastian, was being a racer, a three time world champion with the hunger for a fourth, to play it so safe in the second(!) race of the season seems preposterous, every points counts and it would be very silly not to take it if you can. It happened with Force India in the first race, Mercedes in the second and everyone felt sorry for the driver that had lost out and said how unfair it was, that they weren’t able to challenge for the position, yet when Sebastian ignored the orders that would of made him the ‘victim’, he is ‘arrogant’ and the bad guy, you can’t have it both ways.

    I believe it’s down to people wanting to pounce on Seb, a lot people don’t like successful people in sport, because it’s ‘boring’ to see one person win all the time and people can say I’m wrong but before this ‘incident’, what had Sebastian ever done wrong for people to dislike him (booing at the first race springs to mind). This event that happened in this Malaysian Grand Prix showed to me how people have double standards and are hypocrites, both Sebastian and Nico complained of their teammates slowness and said for them to ‘be moved’ and ‘to hurry up’ respectively, yet only Sebastian got stick for it.

    If anyone else did the same thing (e.g Kimi, Alonso, etc.), I simply don’t believe there would be this backlash because it’s not actually that big a deal, they’re racing drivers, you race everyone, including your teammates.

    All in all, I think teams need to be very careful with team orders in the future, especially in the early parts where it’s all to play for because someone is always going to be unhappy if they got a position higher than they think they could of.

    I think this problem has arose due to the changing of tyres and teams are playing it too safe and this is why these problems are seemingly becoming more and more common, so this needs to be sorted out.

    Also the fact that all these teams didn’t trust their drivers to be able to battle wheel to wheel without crashing is quite worrying.

    • damo

      Jade
      You absolutely right! Much ado about nothing. I am discourage with Formula 1 because now its no better than any other American racing series where small things are amplified in order to create drama and stimulate interest. Im not sure I can watch a race without doubting the results. its all planned ahead of time. Truly a sad day for F1

  3. There’s a big difference between what happened at RB and at Mercedes. In RB, Webber was obviously quite capable at winning the race on his own and had he not received the order to slow down and preserve the machine, Vettel wouldn’t have gotten within DRS distance to attack him, at all. The fact that Vettel was whining like a spoiled brat that they should get Webber off his way and then Webber responded by pulling away, that was a very good indication.

    At Mercedes on the other hand, Hamilton had to go in fuel saving mode quite early on and also his tires were in worse condition than Rosberg’s, so there was absolutely no need to keep Rosberg behind instead of letting him push to his limit and see if he can put pressure on the RBs.

  4. Salil Natu

    I agree to the fact that Vettel is getting more flak than anybody else because he is a 3 time world champion and has been almost flawless since the last 3 seasons, so this was one chance where Seb himself accepted that he made a mistake and all just got on the bandwagon to criticize him, poor guy!!

  5. Kevin Ma

    Unfortunately sometimes you need to be ruthless in order to win championships. Schumacher was a good example.

  6. There was a big difference between the two teams, and it doesn’t matter it was Vettel. What was unfair in Red Bull was that Mark would have kept up a good pace, but both drivers were told to tune down their engines so Webber’s performance was poorer. However by tuning it up again, he would risk, so he did what he was told. In Mercedes, Rosberg did ask for it, but after a “no” reply, he understood and didn’t overtake. Team orders are fine when a faster driver is overtaking a slower driver, or if drivers are told to hold position. A team is a team: a group of people working together to achieve more.

  7. Nice article and also a very good comment to it from StevieC. I have a different view on this and I think there is enough room for other opinons. For me, F1 is in general a sport which favors egoists. I now hear already people screaming: “He, this is a team sport… you don’t get it, mate”.

    Agree and disagree. Yes, it is a team sport somehow. And yes, I acknowledge that there are several hundred people working hard to create and maintain a winner car. But in the focus at the end is mainly the driver. I agree that this is unfair, but that’s how it is. Fans around the world do mainly cheer for a driver and in this connection also have some preferences for a team. However, when drivers are switching teams, fans are following them. This is a very generic view and there might be exceptions. Also, there are some team preferences based on locality. Italians go for Ferrari, Germans prefer Mercedes and British people will more likely cheer for McLaren. How about Spanish people? Most likely Ferrari, because of Alonso.

    Coming back to my previous statement: F1 is for egoists. And it has been the greatest egoists which are legends today. Lauda, Piquet, Prost, Senna, Mansel, Schumacher etc. These have all been total egoists and also very bad losers. As the article says: If Ayrton Senna had done exactly what Vettel had today done, then it would have been legendary.

    Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel are in the same league. They are all egoists. That’s why they already won the title and that’s why they are not satisfied yet. I hardly doubt that anyone of those guys will ever follow team orders which prevent them of winning races.

    Button might be an exception here. Like Webber and Rosberg he is a very nice guy and gentlemen. Unusual for a gentlemen to be successful in F1. That’s why Webber and Rosberg will struggle and maybe never win a title. They are too nice and not enough egoists.

    I personally accept that there is a moment, where team orders make sense. But this moment should be at the point of the season, where the other teammate has lost his chance to win the title. Before this point, I want to see hard but fair fights for positions till the very end of the race. Also team internal. I know that this is wishful thinking and not realistic, but it is what I really like to see. That’s why I will never complain about a driver, who ignores team orders. This is a typical behavior of a real F1 driver, the pure egoist, the next legend.

  8. frank

    Youre missing the point, he passed webber with his engine turned down.. not legendary, he’s a snake. Anyone that would have done that is wrong, period.

    • The best thing would have been there to be no orders at all from either team. Then all the fans would be happy. But there is a difference here between Vettel/Webber and Hamilton/Nico.

      Vettel gunned it against Webber after Webber had turned down his engine. So it wasn’t a fair fight. And it can be said that Webber eventually let Vettel go by him – probably because he knew the team would support Vettel if a wreck happened. . Thus it wasn’t true racing and it was a chump move. If both drivers had been racing at each other with their cars fully up to speed (and both with the support of their team behind them) then sure, no foul. But that’s not how it went down. Vettel knew he had an inside, no performance advantage in a head to head fight with Webber.

      Hamilton/Nico is the more classic team orders situation. The team asked the 2nd driver not to pass the slower first driver and he complied. There isn’t any betrayal going on with Mercedes jus racing.

      • hs

        You said it yourself “it wasn’t true racing” if there is no race then it’s just a show, just an expensive show. Sorry.

      • damo

        look at lap times for both drivers, Webber had his motor turned up! His fastest lap was on the lap Vettel passed him.

  9. aw123

    You failed to point out the real differences in the two incidents.

    Mark was driving slower than his car was capable at team orders, hence the pass by Vettel was unfair and un sporting – he said so himself.

    Lewis was driving his car as fast as he could (given the state of his fuel/tyres) and Niko was held up. Niko could possibly have even caught the red bulls in front if he were allowed to pass at his first opportunity.

    • gingram71

      If Mercedes hadn’t imposed team orders, then potentially Nico would have caught the Red Bulls (particularly Vettel while he was still behind) and ensured that Red Bull didn’t impose team orders either – they’d have had to keep their engines turned up to defend from Mercedes/Nico

  10. Peter

    Even in teams like McLaren, that are famous for always treating both their drivers with absolute parity, there is still a general rule that if the team is running 1-2, once they are past a certain point in the race, usually about 3/4’s done, at THAT point their race is over, and you consolidate to make the finish. Vettel was not in front of Webber when that point in the race came, when Red Bull made the call to hold position now. It’s legitimate, this kind of team strategy, but I disagree completely with the above comments to the effect that Vettel passed Mark, so all’s fair, if Senna did it we’d love it, etc. He didn’t pass Webber because he outraced him, he passed him because Webber was obeying the team order to scale back, cruise now to the finish, and Vettel took advantage of THAT, and aggressively passed him. As Gilles said about Imola, “being beaten is one thing,having it stolen is quite another”…Vettel STOLE the win, and Mark will rightly never trust him again. Ever since Alonso’s season at McLaren in 2007, I’ve felt Alonso to be the most “character-challenged” driver in F1, but that title has now been taken by Vettel, and then some. Great driver, lousy human being, and the character of a 6-year old kindergarten bully. Pity…

  11. JT

    Heres the difference I see.

    Red Bull was running 1-2, they didnt want a battle that could cost them any championship points (ex, Istanbul). Either way, they were getting points for a 1-2 finish, so they attempted to avoid a battle that could only cost them. There was nothing to gain from a battle except drivers points, which was not worth the risk of the team points.

    Meanwhile at Mercedes, Hamilton was going to cut it close on fuel.Had there been a battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, theres a good chance Hamilton could have run out of fuel while trying to defend 3rd, which would have cost Mercedes valuable championship points. Rosberg felt that he had more than enough fuel to challenge Red Bull, who at the time, were reported to be having tire wear issues. Had Rosberg gotten around Hamilton and pursued the Red Bulls, theres a chance they (RBs) could run in to tire issues, and Mercedes would have been able to take advantage. But Brawn didnt want to take a chance with risking the other cars points. So instead of telling Hamilton to let Rosberg by, he ordered both to hold positions so they would score 3rd and 4th.

  12. mr.ferrwt

    Put yourself in webbers shoes.

    dominated the race, vettel caught up, so Webber put the foot down and got away. Webber had 4 seconds on vettel leading to the last stop and the two has about 10 to their nearest rivals. “ok mark we have this turn down the engine save the tires and just hold the gap” done easy end of the race that’s what you do. It wasn’t that vettel was being held up by Webber, he had the chance to pass him earlier on level terms but couldn’t. Knowing these procedures for the end of the race he put the hammer down and risked a sure 1 2 finish…

    now on the merc side they should have let rosberg through to have a run at the red bulls in case they slipped up, which they nearly did. Do you think rosberg would have held station if vettel and Webber crashed or if they ate their tyres battling? (which Webber realised and is why after getting passed he didn’t bother and stuck to the plan.) rosberg should have been up putting pressure on the red bulls, lewis had a issue being his fuel and one would assume they can race safely together.

  13. Brad

    The difference you’re missing in your column is that; rosberg had the fuel to race flat out to the end, Hamilton didn’t. As for the red bull cars they were evenly matched with webber being faster on the day; obeyed team orders saving his car which vettel was meant to do but didn’t. Hence the controversy surrounding the race.

  14. hs

    It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. 🙂

  15. Tony Harman

    Webber could have easily turned his engine back up if he wanted – he’s notorious for whingeing. The better “Driver” won

    • epickett

      Had he done so, then he risked sanction for disobeying team orders. If he really thinks that Seb is ‘protected’, as he said in the post-race interview, that may have factored into his decision to stay where he was.

  16. RJ

    Pettel wouldn’t even be a 3 time champ if it wasn’t for Webber obaying team orders. How many times in the past have we seen Webber just sit behind Vettel, no questions asked?
    When it comes time to turn the table the little snake screws Webber over and only pretends to show remorse after being made to look like a total fool on the dias by not only Webber but Hamilton too.
    Webber is my favourite driver but I hope he retires before the next race, why bother if you’re never gonna even get the chance to win.
    I’d love to see him in the V8 Supercars..

  17. One thing that came out i think is that Webber can drive and defend even Vettel. Vettel is the best driver the world has ever seen and Mark can go hand to fist thats not bad. I think that Mark has been restricted in hiw carreer at RB and now the gloves are off. Mark is not the best driver but he is always in the points and works in an unfair outfit. I think its lucky that Mark didnt wack Seb. Also Mark wasnt upset about the loss of the win he was more poissed that Seb put the team in danger. Mark always say “we” and Seb says “I”.

  18. Uchit Parekh

    From what I understand although the situation @ Mercedes and Redbull appeared similar on the track, there was a huge difference in the reasons. Webber was asked to turn down his engine/drive because the team saw risk in taking a chance with possible tyre degradation, etc. Webber and Vettel both’s cars were in more or less the same condition and which means both could have fought evenly for the lead. Since the team noticed both drivers had settled in their positions after the last pitstop, they wanted to control the pace of both drivers to ensure safe return home. While Webber put his trust in the team and his team mate and was complying to the orders, Vettel disobeyed and mounted an attack.
    On the other hand Hamilton was struggling with Fuel. Reasons could be many, whether the team got their calculation wrong or Hamilton raced using full engine power (therefore burning more fuel) or something else. Truth of the matter is Rosberg drove a very matured and a smart race due to which he preserved the resources (fuel, tyres) to attack not only for podium but also maybe put some pressure on the Redbull duo. Whereas Hamilton was limping, the team decided to support him for reasons unknown. Ross Brawn said on radio that Hamilton’s pace is also being controlled, he could go a lot faster. Really? Could he? And if he did would he have fuel left to finish the race?
    Both situations were completely different and I do not see any contradiction if the same fans who ridicule Vettel’s move and behavior, are unhappy with Ross Brawn’s decision to support Hamilton and control Rosberg.

  19. Jamie Tomlinson

    What most people seem to miss about the situation, including the author of this blog, is that while the drivers are the pilots of the cars those cars do not BELONG to them. They are the property of the representative racing team. It is the owners of the car that spent four million USD (per car) for development and close to half a BILLION dollars per year to race them. The drivers are employees of that team, nothing more.

    The money in F1 comes from the constructor’s championship (CC), not the drivers championship (DC). It is the DC that make the drivers become the “egotists” (as was stated earlier), but the CC that pays the bills. Its the reason why we have Marussia and Caterham fighting tooth and nail at the back of the pack for that tenth position in the championship and not just saying “Hey, we’re not going to win, why race?”.

    To the original point, it is the responsibility of the drivers to follow the team’s orders.. again, its THEIR car. If it is obvious that the finishing positions of the team are set (1,2 in RB’s case, 3,4 in Merc) then why risk nine million dollars on driver’s egos? I applaud Mark, Lewis and Nico’s adherence to team orders and working for the team to succeed, and , personally, think they should start Seb from the pit lane for the next race (you want to pass… pass them all). I think the issue that every one takes with the Mercedes situation is that L.H. knew Nico could and would have finished higher had circumstances been different, while the converse in RB is not necessarily true. Mark showed that he was faster all day, in race conditions, than Seb.

    I admire Nico for following orders and holding station. I applaud Mark for following orders and not taking it back to Seb. I commend Lewis’ act of contrition on the podium (“Its Nico that should be standing here”) and think it would have benefited the team had he let Nico slip by on the last lap (but Merc had orders to hold station, and then there’s that nasty DC points thing again). I think what Seb did was deplorable to take advantage of a team mate, disobeying orders while a team mate follows them. He has displayed himself to be a selfish child who will do what he wants when he wants to do it and while he may hold three consecutive DC’s he will never be a true champion until he matures.

    • M Kitchen

      Well said Jamie Tomlinson, for injecting some common sense.

      What has not been mentioned here is that Ross Brawn and the Brawn team (and Christian Horner and the Red Bull Team for that matter) are not dumbo’s, they are very cleaver people.
      Add to that they have vastly more data at their disposal than any of the drivers.
      So any of their team orders are to manage the team’s best possible position and come from this stand point.
      In this situation I am sure that the Brawn team would have loved to have let Nico go and catch the Red Bull’s and had a 1st or even a 1 – 2, but Lewis had shown his worth to the team throughout the race and presumably they knew that a 3 – 4 was the only outcome.

  20. JP

    Team orders dull the sport and should be used sparingly by the principals. When the championship is at stake late in the season, not race 2.

    I think history will look back when the dust settles on this race and ask – why on earth would a reigning triple world champion sit behind another car for 10 laps when the top step of the podium is staring him in the face?

  21. Ben

    The difference is that Hamilton was forced to slow to save fuel but they still make Nico hold his position. Webber was fine and capable of keeping a great pace (as seen throughout the race) so turned his settings down to cruise as instructed by his team. He was caught by surprise, with Vettel on better tyres and also Mark probably destroyed his tyres racing. Now can you see the difference? Yes I think Vettel is not well liked so that contributes to the big backlash but this shouldn’t hide the fact he did wrong. Very wrong

  22. Prateek Pandey

    Being a fan of Seb since his first victory in a Torro Rosso, his raw pace,his demeanor on and off track, his actions in Malaysian Grand Prix were shameful for me. For a truly hardcore fan of his, I felt so bad when he finished first.
    But why people forget that Mark ignored team orders in British Grand Prix and raced Vettel in Brazilian Grand Prix when driver’s championship was at stake? And even after doing that he never showed any remorse that he ignored team orders.
    Why people forget that Alonso would not have lost the championship so closely,if only there were no team orders to his favor?
    Even before his shameful behavior in Malaysian Grand Prix, I doubt if Seb was the most popular driver. Alonso is the clear fan favorite, even though he has serious issues about number 1 status. Seb has always been hated more than liked. Even though being Seb’s fan, I think Alonso is a more complete driver than Seb, but he is also more experienced. I like Seb more because of his attitude towards racing,his talent and his better demeanor. And now he is a triple world champion.
    Even then, there is no denying that his act at Malaysian Grand Prix was shameful because I don’t think if some other drivers have done it that way, he should also do it the same way. I have never hated other drivers for what they have done wrong. I just have been a true supporter of the driver I think has been great at such a young age. I hope his apology was true and he never repeats this act.

  23. SC

    I bet on Nico to win this race. he possibly could have. I was robbed. If Lewis chewed up his fuel and tyres, hes done, merc denied themselves a chance of a greater result just to help Lewis. Nico raced well, saved fuel and was in the hunt. Fail. Mark had that race in the bag, especially with no challenge from Nico. Seb’s crap ‘move him out of the way’ was out of touch with reality, and his ego couldnt handle the fact he wasnt faster. So he backstabbed Mark like a greedy dog and took a cheap shot. Fail. One day after he retires and then returns out of retirement he will experience reality, even if he doesn’t understand it, and no amount of cheating, backstabbing or ego will help.

  24. Mike

    SOME VALID COMMENTS THERE – I JUST WANTED TO SAY THAT DO U ALL REALLY BELIEVE SEB WOULD BE A 3 TIME WORLD CHAMPION IF THE RED BULL WASN’T THE BEST CAR – CHECK OUT THE TOP GEAR REASONABLY PRICED CAR LEADERBOARD LOL

  25. Rallye Us Maximus

    Fair disclosure: I like Webber more than Vettel (though I think the latter is more talented).

    Despite the foregoing disclosure, I think the whole thing is rather silly. Vettel beat Webber on the track. There was no trickery, there was no contact, and there was no brinksmanship or Maldonado-type crap going on. There wasn’t even Schumacher-type stuff going on. It’s not like Webber didn’t see Vettel coming. Vettel beat him fair and square. (c.f.: I was VERY angry when Red Bull “stole” Webber’s front wing after Vettel trashed his in practice in 2010, and SUPER excited that Webber won that race…not bad for “number 2” indeed!).

    Let me introduce to you a parallel scenario, from a parallel universe. One in which I wish I lived. Everything happens the same way. After the race, Vettel gets in trouble with the team. Or doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. Some fans speak out about how team orders are B.S. and should be banned, but it doesn’t matter because the orders were ignored anyway. And all true F1 fans secretly cheer Vettel on for having ignored team orders on his way to a win. Even fans who, like me, like Webber more than Vettel (I mean I haven’t met them, but from all indications I’d much rather share a pint with Webber than Vettel).

    Vettel is special. He may be annoying to listen to on the radio (though I liked him on Top Gear, seemed like a good bloke), but as a DRIVER he is special. Webber is an amazingly good driver, and I truly wish that he gets a championship before he retires, but he hasn’t shown that he has the magic of Vettel. Vettel’s magic is not without its limits — he has not demonstrated an ability to take an imperfect car to the top spot (compare with Senna and Schumacher), or even that he can do amazing things with a perfect car in imperfect conditions (compare with Hamilton, who has done some amazing stuff in the wet with a less-than-perfect car) — but when the car and the conditions are right, there is no one in F1 who can drive faster than Vettel.

    Does being special entitle him to his teammate’s front wing? Hell no. Does it entitle him to ignoring team orders? Nope, it is being a racing driver that gives him an inalienable right to do that. Maybe even an obligation. And we should celebrate his disobedience, because it is more pure than the alternative. As to the consequences inside the team — who cares?

  26. People are not knocking Vettel just because he is successful. They are knocking him because he is fortunate enough to find himself in the best car, and has people who promote and defend him to the hilt. (Marko and to a lesser extent Horner), and he is not by a long way the best driver in F1, his ability in overtaking is still questionable, unless of course you dupe your team mate. His arrogance is annoying beyond belief, complaining that Webber is too slow, when Webber was clearly winding it back.
    He expects to work as part of the team and yet will only be a team player when it suits him, and for him to apologise afterwards is to insult Webbers and the teams intelligence.
    Doubtless he will be defended to the hilt and it will not be him who leaves at the end of the season.
    My only hope is that the in-fighting within Red Bull will open up one or both championships to another team. Then Red Bull will indeed have reaped what they have sown.

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