Red Bull refuse to use team orders leaving Alonso in pole to take title

If Mark Webber does not win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend from team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull will not win the drivers' world championship to go with the constructors' title that they clinched at Interlagos.

Vettel took his fourth triumph of the season here in Brazil yesterday ahead of the Australian and arch-rival Fernando Alonso in a race that was the German's all the way. Alonso only came into contention to challenge Webber in the closing stages after a crash by Force India's Tonio Liuzzi on the 50th lap had brought out the safety car.

At the end Vettel was 4.2secs ahead of Webber, who was 2.5secs ahead of Alonso. So the Spaniard retained his championship points lead with 246 over Webber on 238 and Vettel on 231.

Had Red Bull elected to adopt team orders and let Webber win – something that the governing body allows when championships are at stake – Webber would have left Brazil with 245 points – just one point off the lead. For some that was confirmation of his suggestion that Vettel is the team's favoured driver – which generated an angry call from team owner Dietrich Mateschitz in Austria and was much denied by team principal, Christian Horner.

And it sets up a situation where, if the result is repeated next weekend, as is likely, Vettel and Webber will tie on 256, five behind Alonso.

"That's the way it is," Webber said of the current situation, "how they handled the points situation today. P1 would have been nice but it was not possible. But I'm still in the hunt and it's nice for me to come back after a poor race in Korea." He was, of course, choosing his words carefully, for his expression said it all.

So did Vettel's. "I think this was an incredible day," he beamed. "It was not an easy race to start with. I saw that Nico [surprise polesitter Hulkenberg] got too much wheelspin and used my momentum just to squeeze down inside. There was not too much space but it was just enough and that was key for me. After that I was able to control the race from there.

"This was an incredible effort from the team, and not an easy season. After Korea it was the right answer for all our people to come back here, all pull on one string, and get us a 1-2 and win the constructors' title with one race to go. That's fantastic. And we can still fight for the drivers' title. But we need to get rid of this guy!"

The latter was a reference to Alonso, whom Vettel must outscore by 16 points even if he wins in Abu Dhabi. "I don't wish anything bad on him but it would be nice to see some Ferrari smoke!" he laughed. "But seriously, I just have to focus on myself as I did here and try to see where he's finishing. In a week's time we'll know."

Webber looked philosophical, and revealed that his engine had been overheating to the point where he was instructed to reduce power settings to keep it running.

"I haven't spoken to the guys yet so I don't know why there was a problem," he said, "but I had to control the reliability and bring the car home. I got information from the team; the phone rang and they asked me to manage something. The safety car helped, but the lap after it went in the problem came back. The engine was right on the edge, apparently. But today is all about the team. You don't win the constructors' championship if you don't have a car that is very reliable. We've had a few lobs in the river along the way, but I'm really stoked for the guys back at the factory."

Fourth and fifth places spelled the effective end of the McLaren drivers' challenges. Lewis Hamilton drove a fighting race in a car that was only a match for the Red Bulls and Ferraris on the harder Bridgestone tyres and not in the crucial early stages on their supersoft rubber. He set the fastest lap on the 66th of the 71 laps, but the presence of lapped traffic between his McLaren and Alonso's Ferrari ruined his chances of moving up a place in the closing stages. Germany's Nick Heidfeld was later given a drive-through penalty in his Sauber for ignoring the McLarens in his mirrors.

Hamilton's fourth place leaves him mathematically a point short of ultimate exclusion, with 222 points to Alonso's 246 and a maximum of 25 available in Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, it is still the first time that four drivers go to the last race with the chance of becoming champion.

Hamilton's team-mate, Jenson Button, the reigning champion for another week, is now out of the fight after finishing fifth and bringing his points tally to 199.

"We weren't quick enough here and we won't be quick enough in Abu Dhabi," Hamilton said. "Realistically, we need a miracle, but I'll keep trying, we have nothing to lose now.

"It was a tough race. The car was nowhere, I had no grip. I feel quite lucky to have finished where I finished. The car didn't feel like it did in practice, down the straights particularly. I didn't think the F-duct was working because I was struggling to overtake backmarkers and Fernando shot by on the straight. The team did a great job with the strategy, but you just can't win with a car that's not quick enough."

So if the same top three pertains with a lap to go in Abu Dhabi, will Vettel let Webber by, thus enabling him to beat Alonso by two points? That is a key question, and Vettel smiled at it. "In my case it's pretty straightforward," he offered. "I have to optimise the result, get everything out of myself and ideally repeat today, and then it depends where those two guys are. We have to judge according to the situation. I think both of us know how to act. We've had some moments we are not very proud of, and which we don't want to repeat..."

Webber, typically, was more succinct. "Long story short: it depends on the last lap..." But did he think it would have been more prudent - if less sporting – for Red Bull to ask Vettel to gift him yesterday's race?

"It would have helped but it's not in the team's policy. The team have always been on the sporting side, and that's how it is. I'm still in with a big chance, so I'll go there and do my best."

Who can win the title?

Fernando Alonso takes an eight-point lead into the final race in Abu Dhabi next weekend. The Spaniard can afford to finish second and still take the title if Mark Webber wins – or fourth if Sebastian Vettel does.

Lewis Hamilton could still win the title, but as he is now 24 points behind Alonso he would need the other three contenders to have a disastrous race. Jenson Button is now out of contention.



FIA Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil (71 Laps):

1 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1hr 33mins 11.803secs

2 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull        1:33:16.046

3 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 1:33:18.610



4 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:33:26.437; 5 J Button (GB) McLaren 1:33:27.396; 6 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:33:47.123; 7 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:33:55.259; 8 N Hulkenberg (Ger) Williams at 1 Lap; 9 R Kubica (Pol) Renault at 1 Lap; 10 K Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber at 1 Lap; 11 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap; 12 A Sutil (Ger) Force India at 1 Lap; 13 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap; 14 R Barrichello (Br) Williams at 1 Lap; 15 F Massa (Br) Ferrari at 1 Lap; 16 V Petrov (Rus) Renault at 1 Lap; 17 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber at 1 Lap; 18 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 at 2 Laps; 19 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 at 2 Laps; 20 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing at 2 Laps; 21 B Senna (Br) HRT-F1 at 2 Laps; 22 C Klien (Aut) HRT-F1 at 6 Laps. Not Classified: 23 L di Grassi (Br) Virgin Racing 62 Laps completed; 24 V Liuzzi (It) Force India 49 Laps completed.



World Championship Standings: Drivers:

1 F Alonso        246pts

2 M Webber        238

3 S Vettel        231

4 L Hamilton 222; 5 J Button 199; 6 F Massa 143; 7 N Rosberg 130; 8 R Kubica 126; 9 M Schumacher 72; 10 R Barrichello 47; 11 A Sutil 47; 12 K Kobayashi 32; 13 N Hulkenberg 22; 14 V Liuzzi 21; 15 V Petrov 19; 16 S Buemi 8; 17 P de la Rosa (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso 6; 18 N Heidfeld 6; 19 J Alguersuari 3; 20 H Kovalainen 0; 21 J Trulli 0; 22 B Senna 0; 23 L di Grassi 0; 24 K Chandhok (India) HRT-F1 0; 25 T Glock 0; 26 S Yamamoto (Japan) HRT-F1 0; 27 C Klien (Aut) 0.



Manufacturers: 1 Red Bull 469pts; 2 McLaren 421; 3 Ferrari 389; 4 Mercedes GP 202; 5 Renault 145; 6 Williams 69; 7 Force India 68; 8 BMW Sauber 44; 9 Scuderia Toro Rosso 11; 10 Lotus F1 0; 11 Virgin Racing 0; 12 HRT-F1 0.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game