Red Bull civil war: Sebastian Vettel is personable off the track... but on it he's as petulant and ruthless as they come
The Red Bull driver ignored team-orders to claim victory in Malaysia
Monday 25 March 2013
Sebastian Vettel is one of the most intelligent and personable drivers in Formula One, and most of the time is obliging and informative. But on the track he grows horns.
He does not indulge in the sort of dangerous manoeuvres that sullied countryman Michael Schumacher’s career, but the relentless will to win is similar.
We saw in Turkey in 2010, when he cut too sharply across Mark Webber’s bows while they were fighting for the lead and spun into retirement, that he is not such a nice boy when things go against him. That’s when a churlishness emerges that is less than engaging.
This time the situation was crystal clear. Team boss Christian Horner wanted his drivers to hold station by the 45th lap, so they could preserve their fragile Pirelli tyres and ease the load on their Renault engines. Red Bull had had a bruising start to the season in Australia, where they dominated qualifying but were beaten on race pace by Lotus and Ferrari. Now they stood to gain a whopping 43 world championship points. Both Horner, and genius designer Adrian Newey, hid their heads in their hands as Vettel continued to push and pressure Webber.
In the end, the ruthless racer in Vettel could not be contained, and he pushed through to steal the win, and to hell with what Horner advised. He only seems to answer to energy drink magnate Dietrich Mateschitz’s right-hand man, Dr Helmut Marko.
Immediately afterwards, he explained that it was not until he and Webber were in parc ferme prior to the podium celebrations that he realised he had committed a cardinal sin. But that’s where his post-race damage limitation strategy was revealed as duplicitous subterfuge.
An apology was the right and humble thing to do. But the truth was that we were already well aware even before he passed Webber that he was going against the orders of his team, because Horner was telling him to stop being silly and to back off. And once the deed was done, Horner warned him that he had plenty of explaining to do. So he knew full well what he had done, and the suggestion that he hadn’t acted deliberately but had “made a mistake,” was risible.
His conduct was unbecoming, the petulant act of a man who simply wants to win at all costs.
England vs Lithuania: Wayne Rooney rules out repeat of boxing celebration after son Kai repeats it at school and focuses on goalscoring record
Marco Reus becomes Arsenal transfer target to replace Theo Walcott
Paul Scholes: It's amazing Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has so few caps for England
New kits for 2015/16: Have the Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona strips been leaked?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Zab Judah denies flooring Mayweather during sparring as he prepares for 2 May
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest