Webber Infuriated after Vettel’s Win in Malaysia

Updated: March 26, 2013

After a hard fought battle, Sebastian Vettel manages to win the Malaysian Grand Prix, with an infuriated Mark Webber coming in 2nd, and Lewis Hamilton rounding off the final podium spot in 3rd

Three years ago F1 fans were infuriated with Rob Smedley’s now infamous radio message to Felipe Massa, and now people are angered at Vettel’s total disobedience of his orders. Funny how things change when it’s the other way round!

The race started with Sebastian Vettel on pole, with the Ferrari’s of Massa and Alonso in 2nd and 3rd. Vettel shot off into the first corner with Alonso close behind. Massa had a relatively poor start being overtaken by several drivers, coming out of the first 3 corners 5th. Alonso on the other hand nudged the back of Vettel’s Red Bull, causing what appeared to be minor wing damage. It soon developed into something more serious, sparking along the track as he went. Because of this Webber managed to move up into 2nd, just ahead of Alonso’s floundering Ferrari.

The race was started wet but quickly dried out

The race was started wet but quickly dried out

Now the sensible thing to do at this point would be to pit for a new front wing, but Alonso decided to wait until it was time to change onto slicks, as all the drivers had started on intermediates. Unfortunately his strategy literally collapsed, as his front wing fell off on the pit straight. It got wedged under his car and rendered him unable to steer, promptly sending him into the gravel trap and ending his race.

On Lap 5 Vettel pulled into the pits to change onto a set of slicks, a risky decision as a lot of the track was still pretty wet. He struggles for grip in parts of the track and gets overtaken by Perez, Sutil and Grosjean. He soon managed to find some grip and retook the position from Grosjean. Interestingly Webber decided to stick with his inters, being told by his race engineer that it is too wet.

A lap later and Force India have a nightmare of a stop. Not only do they call both cars in at the same time, the tyre gun jams on Adrian’s car. The mechanics lose precious moments trying to resolve the issue, all whilst Paul Di Resta sits helplessly behind.

On the next few laps more pit stop related mistakes occur, with Hamilton doing one of the greatest racing faux pas, driving into the wrong pit box! It’s clearly a case of old habits die hard as he drives into McLaren’s pit, and drives straight back out again, this time into his own teams box. The second error occurs between Caterham’s Charles Pic and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne. As Pic pulled into his box Vergne was released, and the two embarrassingly bumped noses. Thankfully Toro Rosso just pushed the car back into the pit and replaced the nose, and Vergne was free to set off.

Nobody was pleased with their result

Celebrations were rather more muted than usual

At this point Webber had the lead, with both Mercedes’ bearing down on him, with the gap down to just 5 seconds. Pastor Maldonado goes flying off track in his Williams, shearing off half his front wing in the process. Rather unlucky for the Venezuelan as this was the second time he’d come off the track of his own accord in as many races. Later in the race he’d crash again, this time for good. At this point Frank Williams should really be asking why this guy still drives for him.

Kimi Raikkonen passes Sergio Perez for 9th and proceeds to chase after his team mate Grosjean, bringing himself just 3.5 seconds behind his team mate’s Lotus. Meanwhile Hamilton backs off a tad, bringing the gap between him and Webber back up to 5 seconds.

A few laps later and Di Resta comes in for a new set of tyres, but disaster! Once again the gun fails and the stops takes an eternity. Sutil comes in shortly after and the exact same thing happens. It seems like the gun has damaged the bolts and the wheels are unable to be put on until the problem is fixed. At this point the Force India guys are throwing their notepads on the floor in despair, as all hopes of points disappear before their very eyes. Just a few laps after the tyre farce and Paul is back into the pits again, but this time for good. The team decides to retire the car, most likely because of the problems they’ve been having. No point in risking a good car if you are way out of the points right? Soon after Sutil’s race is over as well, pulling into the team garage and retiring too. This race is one Force India will look back and cry about for sure.

At this point the 2 Red Bulls are racing furiously, with Vettel quite bluntly saying “Mark is too slow, get him out of the way”There is still half the race to go but Sebastian is clearly getting rather exasperated, especially since Hamilton is bearing down on him at a rapid rate of knots. 

After Webber pits both Mercedes’ are right on him, and as they go round turn 1 they have to negotiate Max Chilton and Charles Pic. They may be at the back but they are still battling furiously! Vettel pits a few laps later but has a poor getaway, even having the anti stall kick in. A very rare mistake indeed for a man of his calibre but it gets even worse, because of his slow release Lewis gets through and Rosberg gets right on his tail.

Button pits and promptly takes the record for ‘most disastrous pit stop’ The stop appears to be fine but as he pulls away one of the mechanics waves frantically. It soon becomes clear why, as the wheel of the Mclaren almost comes off. Button stops the car and eventually gets pushed back to his box. At this point it’s essentially race over for him, and it will only be a few more laps before they retire him for good. On the other hand Perez is having a comparatively good race, running in second. Though lets bear in mind last year he finished second…in a worse car.

Meanwhile Raikkonen and the Sauber of Hulkenberg are having a massive battle for 8th. This was apparently too much for the 1 time world champion, and he hurls abuse down the mic, both to his team and the stewards. Eventually he does pass the Sauber, and sets his sights on Perez, though Hulkenberg is following closely.

Red Bull are sitting pretty in 1st and 2nd but Vettel is screaming towards Webber, and behind them the Mercedes’ are having a similar story, with Lewis and Nico fighting for 3rd.

On lap 44 Webber pits for hard tyres and comes out alongside Vettel, and they go side by side into the first few corners. This display prompts Vettel’s race engineer to tell him to be careful, they don’t want a repeat of Turkey 2010. Behind them the Mercedes’ are having a whale of a time, using KERS to pass each other down the 2 long straights.

The Red Bull’s then get extremely close down the straight! With just a few inches to spare Vettel squeezes himself between the wall and his team mate. Hamilton pulled a similar move on Button in Canada in 2011 and look how that went! Through pure luck the 2 Red Bulls are still on track, but you can practically feel Christian Horner getting more and more agitated. After a few more corners of Seb mercilessly attacking Webber, Horner attempts to intervene, saying “This is silly Seb, come on” Adrian Newey is clearly just as nervous as Horner at this point, throwing his head into his hands. At this point Nico Rosberg has a similar situation, he asks Ross Brawn to let him go past Hamilton, but Brawn is steadfast and tells him to maintain his position. Unlike Vettel though Rosberg listens to his orders and does as he is told.

Mark Webber had dropped behind his team mate but at this point he must be absolutely livid, Vettel disobeyed an order and Webber knows it. Ross Brawn instructs Rosberg to just bring the car home,  “please drop back, there’s nothing to gain, I want to bring both cars home please” he says rather sternly.

A few laps later and Vettel takes the chequered flag, with Webber coming in 2nd and Hamilton 3rd. But it is not the end for Vettel, as his race engineer says “Good job Sebastian, looks like you wanted that bad enough. Still, there will be some explaining to do.” Ross Brawn says a similar thing to Rosberg as well.

In the pre podium room the mood is very tense. Webber is completely fuming and refuses to acknowledge Seb’s comments. The trio take their places on the podium but the celebrations are very muted and everyone just looks like they want to get out of there as soon as possible.

After the race Vettel made a formal apology to Mark and the team, but it will be a while before the dust finally settles on the latest chapter in the Red Bull saga.

Final race positions are as follows:

  1. Sebastian Vettel-Red Bull Racing
  2. Mark Webber-Red Bull Racing
  3. Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes
  4. Nico Rosberg-Mercedes
  5. Felipe Massa-Ferrari
  6. Romain Grosjean-Lotus
  7. Kimi Raikkonen-Lotus
  8. Nico Hulkenberg-Sauber
  9. Sergio Perez-McLaren
  10. Jean-Eric Vergne-Toro Rosso
  11. Valtteri Bottas-Williams
  12. Esteban Gutierrez-Sauber
  13. Jules Bianchi-Marussia
  14. Charles Pic-Caterham
  15. Giedo van der Garde-Caterham
  16. Max Chilton-Marussia
  17. Jenson Button-McLaren-DNF
  18. Daniel Ricciardo-Toro Rosso-DNF
  19. Pastor Maldonado-Williams-DNF
  20. Adrian Sutil-Force India-DNF
  21. Paul Di Resta-Force India-DNF
  22. Fernando Alonso-Ferrari-DNF

Keep an eye out for the Chinese Grand Prix on the 14th of April!

F1 Article

By Harry Wright












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