Sebastian Vettel: “I think I did a big mistake today…”

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.”

21 Comments

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21 responses to “Sebastian Vettel: “I think I did a big mistake today…”

  1. Emma

    He figured he would leap out if the car the all conquering hero and got some thing of a shock to find every one extremely unimpressed with his actions. Then he made a complete mess of it all with the media! He knew precisely what he was doing. At the end if the day, when he closes his door on the world today he still has his twenty five points and there is nothing negative press is going to do to take those off him!

  2. Steve Clark

    Team orders or not it was great to watch. Would love to have watched Nico go after Lewis as well.

  3. elcrowley

    I suppose Vettel has to yield a 1st position in case he is running 1st and Weber just behind him on a future race of this season…..Just in that case we will see if Vettel is man or an ugly and dirty driver.

  4. Andrew

    How do you ignore explicit team orders ‘accidentally’?

  5. Andrew

    And for 10 or more laps, while you’re at it….

  6. The Auto Insider

    Vettel. Your a disgrace to yourself. To Red Bull. To Germany. Bloody ego maniac. To put yourself above the team is, as Christian Horner refered to you, just “dumb”. After the showing today, you’ll never be regarded a great within F1 circles. To those who say Vettel was right to take on Webber and that the fastest man should win; think about it, Vettel was only faster because Mark had followed team oders and already buttoned off. Sebastian Vettel, you’re a bloody disgrace.

  7. Fulveo Ballabeo

    Three uncomfortable truths:

    1) Team orders are like rules. Break a rule, and there should be consequences. Mark is right to feel aggrieved.

    2) If there are no consequences here, then neither driver will respect team orders. It’ll also be another proof-point of the team favoring Seb.

    3) Whenever it comes down to a head-to-head battle based purely on pace, far more often than not it’s Seb who comes out on top.

  8. For years, drivers have been complaining about how difficult it is to overtake. During the race, Vettel told his team about Webber to “get him out of the way,” so difficult it is to pass. At the end of the race, we now know, we now know that drivers can pass accidentally, even when told not to!

  9. DMyers

    I really do not believe Vettel here. He knew exactly what he was doing, and his desperate attempts of feigning innocence and/or ignorance are beneath him. He isn’t an idiot. Also, Christian Horner’s evasive interview on Sky was just as bad, talking about “the interests of the drivers” taking over because he couldn’t bring himself to openly criticise Vettel. Webber wasn’t exactly driving in such a way as to provoke Vettel into overtaking him, was he? And further to that, Red Bull’s usual policy is to bring in the lead car first. Why did they give Vettel the advantage? There is a lot more to this than meets the eye…

  10. Maybe RBR chose to pit Seb first so he wouldn’t be passed by Lewis.
    Had RBR chose to pit Mark first Seb would have likely been passed by Lewis with the undercut on the final pit stop.

  11. The car just wanted to go, it wasn’t deliberate. (sarcasm)

  12. Go on racing guy’s, for our b…. sake, go, go, go….tires saving, fuel saving, fuel consumption devices, front or rear tires ware devices, radio remote controled drivers, this is BIG BS… once the lights are out just go racing with your own feelings and understanding of the situation!
    Lewis “I was saving fuel….”, who is he kidding ? Corporate comment, yes,
    “I was saving my tires…to be able to reach the flag…”, would have been the honest answer and true answer here, and yes, Niko, if he felt he had some tires potentiel left should have drove for it…!
    What now ? VET letting WEB pass to recover his “stollen” points…
    HAM remembering ROS respect and good mannered attitude and giving him a third place position if and when another similar situation happens…?
    Man, where is all this going…?
    Seb, in my book you did right, what a dull race it would have been without this awesome moove…!
    I do understand the guy’s position on the pit wall, they trust you, but they should trust you all the way, this is racing not just a cruise and collect derby or an eco race…enough of that!

  13. Loti

    I think I must be the only person in the world who is quite pleased that Sebastian wants to give us a race and not an exercise in tyre and fuel saving. The only thing I would have done different would have been for the pit wall to tell Mark that Sebastian was ignoring team orders and to go for it if he felt like it [with the proviso that if they damaged the cars, the cost would come out of their pay packets…. not just the damage but points lost too]
    As to Mercedes, Nico is a Mercedes man right down to his sock, I feel that Lewis is just passing through, so Nico will do what he is told and play the long game. He now has a good card to play and I hope Nico gets pay-back at some point, although I doubt it. Again it would have been great to see them race rather than tiptoeing round in formation, Even bigger lack of respect to both teams.

  14. Steve W

    What’s wrong with just letting these guys actually race each other? A lot, apparently…

  15. Steve C

    Funny thing will be (I’m predicting the future here so pay attention), Seb’s extra points from this race will be the deciding factor in getting him his forth drivers championship. Hindsite will be 20/20…

  16. Rich

    As much as I think Seb was an idiot for doing what he did and then talking the way he did afterwards, I agree with Loti that the drivers are there to race and should be given every opportunity to do that. I realise that F1 really is all about pushing limits – tyres and fuel allowances included – but you hardly ever see e.g. fuel saving being required in other formulas of racing and personally I would prefer to see such constraints removed from F1 as well.

  17. **Paul**

    The only thing I’m disappointed in with Seb is that he didn’t hop out of the car and say…. “In the past Mark has ignored team orders in order to try and take victories, I share his desire to win, and I went for it”.

    Because that is pretty much the truth of the matter. Both want to win, both will happily screw each other over to win (see Silverstone 2011 for Webbers attempt and ignoring of team orders).

    What I can’t undertstand though, is why the press deem it ok for Webber to ignore team orders, and slate the team, yet when Vettel does it he’s the big bad guy. It just seems wholely inconsistent. Likewise Mercedes yesterday enforced team orders, and previously when RBR have done so in Vettels favour (normally Webber isn’t ahead is he..) then everyone screams how unfair it is. Yet Mercedes comprimised Rosbergs final stint because Lewis had used more fuel. That’s the most disappointing aspect of the weekend for me, if Rosberg has saved fuel he should be allowed to use and take a well deserved podium. The same would apply should the cars be reversed.

    Inconsistency all over the shop.

  18. paxdog

    Well in years past, the aggrieved driver would leap out of his car and physically mix it up with the other driver. Sorry Seb, you know have tarred your rep like Alesi in 1982.

  19. Stone the Crows

    Behavior that is rewarded/ignored gets repeated. Christian Horner has been sending mixed messages to his drivers for years; he will be the first to say that they will be allowed to compete with one another, but then pulls that back and tells them to hold position, etc. Vettel and Webber have ignored instructions from their Principal on more than one occasion. When a race is near its end and Vettel is leading and has the win well in hand he’s often been told to not go for a fastest lap, yet he does. As Paul posted, Webber also ignores team orders-but its all well and good when its in his favor. This time it was Vettel ignoring his Team Principal and has shown appropriate contrition for that little bit of rebellion yet he gets to keep the points and the trophy. What are the odds that this might just happen again if the opportunity arises? Pretty good I’d wager.

  20. Kim Holland

    For now anyway the days of drivers battling it out on the track have been minimized by teams managing the cockpit from behind computer screens and drivers hampered with electronic assist. But this wasn’t a battle, it was sad . And to further insult the incident Vettle continues to deny responsibility. If any one of the many communications to him regarding this matter had been “your engine is on fire get out of the car” we may have seen a very different response. For a driver to deny he understood that many communications would make me question his competence and safety. Fess up or shut up Vettle. The hole is getting deep. You may fall in.

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