I'd do the same again to win, says Vettel
- Published: 11/04/2013 at 01:49 PM
- Online news:
Sebastian Vettel said Thursday he would defy team orders again if it means winning a grand prix, in comments likely to further damage his shaky relationship with fellow Red Bull driver Mark Webber.
Sebastian Vettel (R) walks off the podium with his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on March 24, 2013. Vettel said Thursday he would defy team orders again if it means winning a grand prix, in comments likely to further damage his shaky relationship with Webber.
The three-time world champion ignored team orders last month in Malaysia to grab the lead -- and with it victory -- from Webber, with whom he has long had an uneasy relationship.
Asked if, at this weekend's grand prix in Shanghai, he would do the same again, Vettel replied: "I'm not sure if I can give you a proper answer because in the moment it might be different, but I'd probably do the same."
Vettel, 25, who had previously apologised, maintains that he heard the coded order from the team not to overtake Webber late in the race, but says he didn't understand it. And he said in any case Webber "didn't deserve" the win.
Pressed on the issue, he admitted: "Had I understood the message and had I thought about it, reflected on it, thought what the team wanted to do, to leave Mark in first place and me finishing second...
"I think I would have thought about it and I would probably have done the same thing."
Risking alienating the feisty Webber further, Vettel said: "Being completely honest, I never had much support from his side.
"I've got support from the team, and I think the team has supported us both the same way.
"But in terms of my relationship was Mark, I respect him a lot as a racing driver, but I think there has been more than one occasion -- four or five occasions -- in the past where he could have helped the team and he didn't."
There is a history of bad blood between the pair going back to Vettel's crash with Webber at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix that ended the German's race and wrecked the Australian's chance of victory.
But Vettel insisted that there was "no war" between the nominal team-mates. "As a driver I was solely focused on the race. I got a call on the radio which I heard but didn't fully understand at that time. I should have understood. That's why I apologised to the team.
"My intention as a driver was to win the race, so I don't apologise for winning the race.
"I don't consider myself to be the bad guy," he said. "I apologised to the team, which was important to me, to get things straight."
The Australian Webber said in the immediate aftermath of the Sepang controversy that he was heading back home to Australia and had plenty to think about, prompting claims he was considering his immediate future with the team.
But he said Thursday he never had it in mind to quit.
"First of all, I'm definitely keen to finish the season. A lot of people were even questioning that one, which was certainly not something in my mind," he told a press conference.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency