Sebastian Vettel ignores team orders to win Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix
Mark Webber led after the final round of pit stops and the drivers were told to hold positions to the end of the race (multiple 21) but the German triple World Formula 1 Champion Sebastian Vettel ignored the team orders on purpose and pressed himself forcefully past Mark Webber after an intense wheel to wheel battle with 13 laps to go. The Australian Red Bull driver had already slowed his pace, when he was surprised by the unexpected move of his German team mate.
Mark Webber was highly disappointed with the move of his German tea mate, which caused a lot of controversy at the Red Bull conning tower, and converted the victory ceremony into a cold ritual and in absence of the usual standing ovation.
During the press conference, Sebastian Vettel indirectly apologized for ignoring the team orders, and desperately tried to appear to be a backslapper, which did not change the cold atmosphere in any way.
Mark Webber had initially taken the lead at the first stops as the drivers came in to fit dry-weather tyres following a wet start.
He had led the race throughout, with the two Red Bull drivers using the two available tyre compounds in different orders.
The German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel selected to end the race on the softer 'medium' tyre
Sebastian Vettel was warned by team boss Christian Horner that he was being "stupid" but the two then battled wheel-to-wheel around Turns One and Two onto Turn Four, where Mark Webber appeared finally to yield to his team-mate despite having the inside line.
Mark Webber stated, that after the last stop the team told him that the race was over and therefore both turned the engines down to finish the race in this constellation. The team made the decision. He further added that Sebastian Vettel made his own decision and that he will be protected as usual.
When Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line, he was told over the radio, that it was a good job, but that he still owes the team some explanations.
Lewis Hamilton took third ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who obeyed an order to stay behind, although he was faster than his English team mate, who was told to save fuel towards the end of the race.
Spanish Scuderia Ferrari Fernando Alonso crashed on the second lap after breaking his front wing during the start phase skirmish with Sebastian Vettel .
He held onto second place throughout the first lap and decided not to stop to change it, before overrunning the font-wing, and to lose control heading into Turn One on the second lap, sending him into the gravel trap to finish his 200th Formula 1 race without any points.
The Spaniard's team-mate Felipe Massa, who started from position 2 took fifth, fighting past the Lotus cars of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen in the final laps after the Lotus team's gamble to try to do only three pit stops rather than four failed.
Roman Grosjean finished sixth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who won the first race of the 2013 Formula 1 season in Australia last weekend.
McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button, who lead the race for a couple of laps, was on for a points-scoring finish, possibly in fifth place, before he was released from a pit stop with a loose front wheel. After being pushed back to the pits, he managed to climb back to 12th, before being called in to retire with imminent mechanical problems late in the race.
The Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg took eighth ahead of McLaren driver Sergio Perez, with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne 10th.
Valtteri Bottas finished 11th for Williams in a race in which team mate Pastor Maldonado had one off-track adventure which broke his front wing and later to retire, while Esteban Gutierrez took 12th for Sauber from Jules Bianchi’s splendidly-driven Marussia and the Caterhams of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. Pic was hit by Vergne during a mix-up in the pit lane, when Toro Rosso made an unsafe release, and both required new noses. Toro Rosso was later fined for the incident.
Force India had a horrible race. A delay in changing the wheels on Adrian Sutil’s car seriously held up team mate Paul di Resta, who pitted at the same time to switch from intermediates, and was well-behaved waiting for his team mate to be dispatched. The Scot then fought back mightily and was on target for points when he suffered a similar problem at his next pit stop. German Force India driver Adrian Sutil later had a recurrence, and both cars were eventually withdrawn.
It was a race full of drama as the intra-team battles at Red Bull and Mercedes where the highlights of the race, in addition to a furious Kimi Raikkonen, who was complaining vehemently about the driving style of Nico Hulkenberg.
The Malaysian Grand Prix team orders controversy at Red Bull is only the latest episode of a long-running drama between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. As a matter of fact, it goes right back to 2010, when the two crashed while Sebastian Vettel tried to pass Mark Webber for the lead of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Since then, there have been a lot of further incidents at the team as the two men, both intensely determined and tough but very different in other ways, have battled for supremacy.
Another factor, which heats up the internal team duel is Mark Webber's strong and reasonable belief that, while the team allows them to battle it out on the track fair and square, the team is more behind Sebastian Vettel than him.
This belief, which is widely shared within the F1 community and among the fans, is founded on the way the team have responded to the various situations between their drivers.
Meanwhile, there was similar controversy at Mercedes as Nico Rosberg followed Lewis Hamilton closely in the final laps.
Nico Rosberg asked the team to let him pass his team mate Lewis Hamilton, but was told "negative" by team boss Ross Brawn.
When he complained again, Brawn told him that Hamilton - who had earlier been told to save fuel - was also being "controlled" and could also go faster.
Lewis Hamilton admitted on the podium: "I can't say it's the best feeling being up here today. If I'm honest I really feel Nico should be standing here."
The English Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had provided an amusing moment when, coming in for his second stop he headed into the pit box of former team McLaren before being waved on towards Mercedes.
The controversial result catapults the Sebastian Vettel into the lead in the drivers’ world championship with 40 points from Kimi Raikkonen on 31, Mark Webber on 26, Lewis Hamilton on 25 and Felipe Massa on 22, while Red Bull have a comfortable lead in the constructors’ Formula 1 championship with 66 points from Ferrari and Lotus on 40, and Mercedes on 37.
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