Sebastian Vettel admits that he didn’t realise what a stir he’d caused by passing Mark Webber for the lead in Malaysia until he got back to the pits after the race.
Vettel apologised to Webber, but curiously he also claimed that he had not ignored the team orders “deliberately.”
However, team boss Christian Horner made it clear that the German knew exactly what was being asked of him.
“Towards the end I feel I had quite a strong pace,” said Vettel. “And obviously at the very end on a new set of medium tyres I had a bit more speed, and it was a close fight. But as you can see I’m not entirely happy. I think I did a big mistake today. I think we should have stayed in the positions that we were.
“I didn’t ignore it on purpose, but I messed up in that situation and obviously took the lead which, I can see now he’s upset, but yeah, I want to be honest at least and stick to the truth and apologise. I know that it doesn’t really help his feelings right now, but I think other than that, obviously a very good race for the team. We handled the tyres I think pretty well today. To sum it up, apologies to Mark, obviously now the result is there. but all I can say is that I didn’t do it deliberately.
“I think obviously we talk about these kind of things before we go into the race, and it’s not the first time we race each other. I think the difference in pace at the end probably wasn’t fair because he was trying to save the car and the tyres and, as I said, I did not ignore that but I should have been aware, to be honest. Obviously then took quite a lot of risk to pass him and that was the end of the race then.”
Asked to elaborate on how he hadn’t made the pass deliberately, he still didn’t have an adequate answer.
“I think it’s not an easy situation for me. Obviously I’m the black sheep right now. Obviously I put myself in that position so, as I said, all I can say is apologies to Mark. I know that right now, obviously, having just come out of the car, it’s probably difficult to explain everything, but the pass was deliberate. Obviously I wanted to pass him, you could see that, otherwise you wouldn’t even try, but I didn’t mean to ignore the strategy or the call. I made a mistake, simply.”