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Mark Webber unhappy with Malaysian result while Vettel apologises

731   //    25 Mar 2013, 10:55 IST

Mark Webber hit out at team mate Sebastian Vettel after the German ignored team orders during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber was on course for victory but was passed by Vettel during the final stint of the race.

“In the end, Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection as usual, and that’s the way it goes,” Webber said on the podium.

“I was disappointed with the outcome of today’s race.”

Webber was also caught saying ‘Multi 21, Seb’ to team mate Vettel in the drivers room before the podium.

“There’s a bit of history to this as well; my mind in the last 15 laps was thinking about a lot of things, but I was happy with the way I drove,” Webber added.

“I tried to isolate what happened at the end and we got something out of it today, but of course I’m not satisfied with the result. This puts heat on a few people and unfortunately there’s no rewind button.”

Team principal Christian Horner also expressed his disappointment at Vettel.

“Unfortunately drivers’ interests can sometimes come into conflict with the teams’. Sebastian decided to take things into his own hands today and race Mark, thankfully making a clean pass and switching the order to the flag.”

“It’s frustrating. Formula One is both a team and an individual sport and sometimes there is a conflict between a driver’s desire and a team’s interest. What happened today is something that shouldn’t have happened. It’s something that Sebastian has apologised for and it’s something that we will discuss internally as a team.”

And Sebastian Vettel has apologised to Mark Webber after failing to adhere to team orders during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Red Bull ordered Webber and Vettel to maintain their position but Vettel overtook Webber to secure his first win of 2013.

“I messed up today. I would love to come up with a nice excuse as to why I did it, but I can’t,” said Vettel.

“I can understand Mark’s frustration and the team not being happy with what I did today; I owe an explanation to him and the whole team. I will try to explain to them later. We talk about this situation happening many times and what we will do if and when it happens and normally it doesn’t, but today it did and I should have translated the call into action.”

“I got the call and I ignored it”.

“Mark and I are used to fighting each other when we’re close, but with the tyres how they are now, and not knowing how long they will last, it was an extremely big risk to ignore the call to stay second. We could have ended up finishing eighth or ninth after destroying the tyres in those two laps; I put myself above a team decision, which was wrong. I didn’t mean to and I apologise. I’m not happy I’ve won, I made a mistake and if I could undo it I would. It’s not easy right now and I owe apologies to Mark and the team.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he will hold discussions with Sebastian Vettel behind closed doors after admitting his driver chose to ignore a direct team order at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel won the race in Sepang but only after he took the lead from team-mate Mark Webber after both drivers had been told to hold position. Horner said he felt his driver had deliberately ignored a team order and that Vettel knew what he did was wrong.

“He’d had the communication and knew what it was and he chose to ignore it,” Horner said. “He put his interest beyond what the team’s position was and he was focused on those eight points difference between second and first.

“That was wrong, he has accepted it was wrong, and from a team’s perspective Formula One is a team sport. But there is also a drivers’ championship and that’s where sometimes you end up being in conflict, and I believe exactly the same conflict was going on with the two cars [Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg] just behind us.

“It’s important that we learn from it and I think that Sebastian acknowledges and knows what he did wasn’t right. But these situations have happened previously, and no doubt they will happen again in the future.”

Asked if he would be disciplining his driver further, Horner added: “It’s the type of thing we will talk about behind closed doors. He and I have had the discussion already, once we’ve taken the emotion out of it with time to reflect we’ll have another discussion before the next race.”

Vettel made the pass on lap 46 and Horner was asked whether he considered radioing his driver to tell him to give the position back.

“Do you honestly think that if we’d told him to slow down and give the place back, he would have given it back?” Horner said. “There was no point, there was no point. He made it quite clear what his intention was by making the move.”

Webber and Vettel have a long history of conflicts, going back to the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix where a similar battle ended in contact. After the race in Malaysia it appeared as though the pair’s relationship had hit another low, but Horner said it was nothing new.

“Let’s be honest here, there’s never been much trust between them since Istanbul 2010, but there is a respect between the two of them,” he said. “If you think of Brazil at the last race [of 2012], Mark was told to hold position and he started racing him.

“These things happen, they are race drivers and they will push to the limit. That’s part of their DNA and that’s part of why we signed them to do the job they do and why they have performed so well for us as a pairing for the last five years.”

Explaining the reason why team orders had been imposed in the first place, Horner said the high levels of tyre degradation meant the pit wall was trying to do the best it could to secure maximum points.

“Following cars very closely destroys tyres and what we didn’t want to do was run out of tyres and take an unnecessary risk. So from a team’s point of view we are trying to manage the race from that final stop to the end of the race because at this point of the season it made sense to try and bank the points. All you are doing by allowing the two to race, from a team’s perspective, is take unnecessary risk. Obviously Sebastian chose that he wanted those eight points and chose to take things into his own hands. He’s apologised to team for that and to Mark for that.”

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