What was Multi-21? Looking back at the infamous incident between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber the 2013 F1 Malaysian GP
Sebastian Vettel had the most successful stint of his Formula 1 career with Red Bull, winning four world championships in a row and asserting his dominance over the grid. However, there were bad days for him with the team as well, with one infamous incident happening on this day 10 years ago.
Vettel and Mark Webber had been teammates for a long time and by the time the grid entered the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2013, the German was already a three-time world champion. With efforts from both drivers, the team also won the constructor's championship thrice. Nevertheless, things changed after the Malaysian GP, and not for good.
Entering the second round of the 2013 F1 championship, Sebastian Vettel was in pole position and Mark Webber was P4 on the grid. Soon after the lights went out, the Australian seized the lead in the race. Since it was the start of the season, there wasn't much competition, and owing to the tire wear, Vettel was asked to follow the now-infamous 'Multi-21' instruction.
This was an instruction to Sebastian Vettel, asking him to keep his P2 position and let Webber finish the race ahead of him. However, to the team's surprise, the German attacked his teammate with 13 laps to go in the race, disobeying the orders. He eventually overtook him and won the race. The incident would go on to ruin the relationship between the two drivers.
Vettel won his fourth and final world championship later in the season and Webber retired from Formula 1.
Sebastian Vettel marked that he had 'no respect' for Mark Webber in 2013
Mark Webber was disappointed with the events of the race in Malaysia. He said some controversial things about Sebastian Vettel on the podium, stating that the German had made his own decisions and that he would "have protection as usual."
The next race of the season was in China, where the drivers met for the first time since the events of Sunday. Webber revealed that Vettel said that he had no respect for the Australian as a person for what he said on the podium that day.
"The ensuing conversation was the most disappointing moment of our entire relationship," Webber said. "He said he was pissed off by what I had said on the podium in Malaysia, that while he respected me as a driver he had no respect for me as a person."
Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, said later that the events of the race was Vettel's "own doing" and that it was payback for what happened in Silverstone 2011 (Webber was asked to stay behind Vettel but attacked regardless) and Brazil 2012 (when Vettel believed he was compromised by his teammate down to turn 1 which made him crash with Bruno Senna, it was also the title-deciding race of the season).
Though the events of this day, a decade back, have cooled down, it remains one of the most controversial moments in the history of Formula 1.