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Pressure of F1 battle beginning to tell

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Andrew Benson | 17:33 UK time, Sunday, 30 May 2010

One of the stories of the Formula 1 season so far has been how Red Bull, despite having the fastest car in the field, have not been able to get out of their own way. In Turkey on Sunday, that proved to be literally the case as their race fell apart in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided when the German tried to pass his team-mate for the lead on the 40th of 58 laps and another race they should have won - the third this season - slipped through Red Bull's grasp.

I have to say that I read the incident the same way as Martin Brundle and David Coulthard did during the race - and Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Davidson and Alexander Wurz agreed afterwards. Vettel moved right towards Webber at a time when, although he was nosing ahead, he was still alongside his team-mate.

Webber had not left Vettel very much room on the inside - as was his right. But the Australian did leave his team-mate about the width of a car - which is hard but fair, as you would expect of Webber. But when they were side by side it was Vettel who deviated his line when there was no room to do so.

It was a racing incident, certainly, but there seems little doubt that Vettel deserves the larger share of the blame.

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The counter-argument is that, as Vettel was his team-mate, Webber should have given him more room than he might another driver. We'll come back to that in a moment. First, though, a bit of context.

As Jonathan Legard explored in his blog on Friday, Vettel arrived in Turkey under a lot of pressure after Webber's two dominant wins in Spain and Monaco.

The 22-year-old German has been used to ruling Red Bull, with Webber usually not quite able to keep up, and he had clearly been shocked to find the tables had been turned.

Vettel was absolutely determined not to let Webber make it three in a row in Turkey this weekend.

Normal service appeared to have been resumed through the practice sessions, when Vettel had a noticeable edge over his team-mate, Webber admitting he was "a little bit on the back foot" heading into qualifying.

So Vettel was not happy to hit more problems in qualifying, when a broken roll-bar left him down in third place. It is impossible to know whether he would have beaten Webber to pole without that problem, but it would certainly have ratcheted up the frustration another notch.

Too much can be read into these things, of course, but how much did all this cloud Vettel's judgement in the race when he found himself being held up behind his team-mate, with an even faster pair of McLarens right behind him?

An intriguing extra dimension emerged in the aftermath of the race with the information that Webber had turned his engine down to save fuel and Vettel had not in the laps immediately preceding their collision.

Webber was questioned about this by the media and, asked whether there was a reason Vettel might suddenly have been faster than him, he responded by saying: "You guys need to dig a bit more, somewhere else."

Team boss Christian Horner later explained that Vettel had managed to save an extra lap's worth of fuel in the early part of the race and therefore could run longer at the maximum engine setting, which explains why Vettel was able to get a run on Webber down the straight.

"He had an extra lap on the optimum engine setting and we couldn't back him off because he was under pressure from the McLarens," Horner explained. "He took advantage of that - as he had every right to do." Which is a fair point, but rather overlooks the fact that a driver following closely behind another car will always use less fuel than one running at the front.

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The strong suggestion in Horner's interview was that he felt Webber should have given Vettel more room. That is all very well but does not alter the fact that Vettel turned into his team-mate, or that - as far as the ethics of racing go - Webber was under no obligation to do so.

Were Red Bull trying to manipulate the battle to make it easier for Vettel to pass? Or were they simply giving each driver the dues he had earned for himself? It looks rather like it was the first.

Whatever, it will do little to reduce the already simmering tensions within a team that have always been seen as fundamentally preferring their rising German star over their Australian veteran.

It is worth noting that, of all the fascinating battles between team-mates, this was the one of which least was made at the start of the season. As ever, though, the intensity of a title battle has brought the tensions to a head, and they will only increase as the season goes on.

Vettel's misjudgement handed a one-two to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who had the fastest race car in Turkey on Sunday.

The relationship between Button and Hamilton has been good so far this season, but there, too, there was the hint of the beginnings of some friction.

After they had assumed first and second positions in the race, both men were told to turn their engines down to save fuel. But Button was soon closing in on Hamilton and he passed him around Turns 12 and 13 with 10 laps to go, with Hamilton re-passing Button at the next corner, Turn One at the start of the next lap.

It is difficult to be absolutely sure, but as Anthony Davidson was saying in the F1 Forum after the race, Hamilton certainly seemed to be unhappy about something as he and Button gathered their thoughts before the podium ceremony. "What was going on there?" he asked Button.

Both drivers had been asked to save fuel, so Hamilton was clearly a little surprised to suddenly find his team-mate right behind him and trying to pass.

Hamilton, Button and team boss Martin Whitmarsh all played down any suggestions of trouble after the race, with Whitmarsh insisting "we didn't call off the fight".

It seems that McLaren might have slightly tripped up as they tried to get their drivers to hold position to the finish without breaking the F1 rules forbidding team orders, or that Button and Hamilton had each interpreted their team's demands differently.

This is certainly not - yet - as serious a situation as at Red Bull. But Button and Hamilton are now second and third in the world championship, right behind Webber, and it is a pressure point that will only come under further strain as the season progresses.

With just over a third of the races gone, the season could hardly be set up better. The internal battles at Red Bull and McLaren are simmering nicely, and Fernando Alonso - whose Ferrari team had a poor weekend - is still right in the mix in fourth place, just ahead of Vettel.

Five drivers separated by 15 points - the amount you get for a third place. Tensions starting to grow. Canada in two weeks' time, often the scene of mayhem even when things are otherwise quiet, should be electric.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Good article Andrew. I think you sum this up perfectly. Webber has been better and Vettel hasn't taken it well. He showed his inexperience and I think McLaren will be laughing away in their motorhome wearing their rocket red tonight.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think there is a friction between button and lewis but the latter is trying to play it down having experience same with Alonso. watch his reaction after the race, a winner does not reacts to fans and his team in such a way!! Be prepared for some battle as the race progresses, both drivers will be noticing if the team is favouring one over the other.
    But with same car and same technology, when it comes to fighting on the track I don't think button will withstand hamilton being an aggressive driver than button but the one that plays it cool will win at the end!!

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Christian Horner seems to have watched a different accident from the rest of us.

    Vettel caused that accident. Mark didnt help it but Seb moved over unpredictably. If I were the stewards i'd have given Seb a 5 place grid penalty or a suspended race ban at the next grand prix for causing an avoidable collision.

    I'm surprised Jenson passed Lewis, I'm a Button fan but it was clear that Lewis deferred to Button in China and that the same respect should have been payed in the closing stages here.

    I think Lewis was subdued because in the back of his mind he's wondering if the team tried to take the win from him.

  • Comment number 5.

    The F1 forum wasn't available on the red button after the race? All I had available was the French Open tennis? Was pretty annoying!

  • Comment number 6.

    It was a great race and it's a strange situation that red bull are in, especially if Christian Horner is taking sides. I think Vettel tired to get some extra room for braking into the hair pin but it went badly wrong. On the other hand I do not think that Vettel turned into Webber drastically but at 200mph maybe it was too quick to judge. So I am 40-60 on Mark Webber's side.

    @ Andrew Benson,

    Do you think Andrew that Christian Horner should have told Mark Webber that Vettel still had full engine power after he told Webber to save fuel?

  • Comment number 7.

    To change tact from todays debarcle,I am sure like the grid posns,done ineractive,it would be very interesting to see after the pole shootout just how far these hundreds of a second are in actual distance between the top ten,I am sure we are led to believe unless you are on the front row you have little chance of success,when actually it could only be a matter of feet over a circuits length between the cars .

  • Comment number 8.

    In response to the above comment (well, comment 5), the F1 Forum WAS open after the race - you had to chose between tennis and the forum. Alas, an extra few options seems to have caused bedlam....

    I agree with you Andrew - the crash was Sebastien Vettel's fault, through and through. As the leader, Webber had every right to move to protect, and it was Vettel's snap change of direction towards Webber's car that caused this landmark collision.

    The Istanbul Park circuit is a gem, and this was an epic race - the best of the season so far. No rain required to stir things up!

    Well done to McLaren - they've really closed the gap now, and if they sort out their qualifying, they'll show Red Bull who's boss.

    With this in mind, the Milton Keynes squad can't afford many more balls-ups. Vettel is under pressure from Webber, who has outperformed him in recent races, and he is 100% to blame for the accident.

    How TO DO IT, was demonstrated nicely by the equally matched McLaren pair - both of whom drove like true champions today.

  • Comment number 9.

    I didn't have the forum available in Hampshire either - just tennis! Anyone from the BBC like to explain?
    On the subject of the 'incident', clearly Vettel's fault - he turned into another car for crying out loud.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, i agree. very good article Andrew. i was struck by how miserable everybody seemed all race weekend

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    In response to Lord Lancashire - no, it just wasn't an option. Only tennis was available.

  • Comment number 13.

    Andrew,

    A question i've been asking myself for about a year now is, How on earth has Sebastien Buemi managed not to get himself sacked? His performances have been terrible. Time for someone else to get a drive I think.

  • Comment number 14.

    SV's move was get out of my way or we're both off. MW gave him just enough room and SV made a rookie mistake. There is no right or wrong, its is he a racer or dangerous, its all in perception. RB excuse the initial move of SV and they clearly favour him. MW its a Damon Hill moment; hunker down and get that world title even if RB dont like it. And this is another reason to get more pit stops to avoid tensions each teamate has more chances to get the lead back.

  • Comment number 15.

    It's quite simple, watch the footage, and listen to Vettel's comments.
    Vettel's fault, Mark Webber did nothing wrong.

    I think it is a poor, poor show by Christian Horner to lay the blame at Mark's feet. I used to like Christian Horner, but this has left a horrible taste in my mouth and I have lost respect for the man.

    I feel for Mark, it will be interesting to see if the team now favour Vettel even more, and we see Mark having problems with his car or bad pit stops.

    I have grown to really dislike Vettel this season, seeing a very cocky young man appear in place of someone who used to be quite level headed. There is certainly shades of Schumacher in him. If it's not going his way, he clearly doesn't like it. However he needs to be a man and accept that he was 100% to blame for the incident.

  • Comment number 16.

    Unlucky situation for the Red Bulls. Both fought hard and at 300 km/h a small bump from the track was all that was needed for them to make contact. In none of the slow-mos you could see that Vettel or Webber made a steering motion in the direction of the opponent. It was minimal contact (as minimal as the contact Button and Hamilton had also), but the big difference was: contact was made wheel to wheel - that's why Vettel's car was catapulted off track with such sheer force. If he would hav been 1-2 centimeters mor in front, there wouldn't have been an accident but just a hard fight with a small bump - bad luck...

  • Comment number 17.

    If Vettel is being favoured by Red Bull then Mclaren are favouring Button.

    Hamilton was told to slow down and cruise and Button had a go at him, in China Lewis again was told to slow down not to do anything silly with Button. No wonder Lewis was annoyed after the race.

  • Comment number 18.

    Actually if you look at my previous post on another forum I did mention that it was Vettel to blame, more so than Webber.

    However, I didn't take into account Redbull's ruling over these issues which the driver's are acutely aware of. Redbull actually blamed Webber for the crash incident which may seem preposterous to some (including me), but if you think about it, its not. Apparently the Redbull's team orders are written loud and clear and both drivers clearly understand them. The driver that concedes track position to his team mate, has to give room to the driver that has obtained it. In other words, Webber had to give Vettel enough room to allow him to give an opportunity to overtake. Webber denied him that, and that's why the team is blaming him for the incident and not Vettel.

    As a neutral and from a pure racing point of view, it's clear that its Vettel's fault

  • Comment number 19.

    #8 there was initially, straight after the credits finished on BBC1, and option to watch F1 live on the red button, but it was just the same as what was on BBC1. After trying again, the option was gone, and for at least 15 minutes after, it was only French Open tennis. Gave up after that. Will have to try watching it on t'internet once/if it becomes available.

  • Comment number 20.

    vettel is petulent - this incident reminded me of how he colided with kubica in Australia last year.

    Vettel is starting to beleive the view that he is the new schui - and working on building a similar reputation for taking his opponents out when things dont go his way.

    Vettel cant win unless he is in front from lights to flags.

    3 x union flags on podium - even if third has some stars = good show.

    Was it me or did they fail to play the anthem?

  • Comment number 21.

    This could be a very interesting turning point in both teams now. I would beleive the tension in RB will be a lot worse that in Mclaren but from now it will become a completely different game played in the teams.

    #5 The GP was on No.2 on the red button. I have issues before with the Red button loading at the end of the race, as i beleive the system gets overloaded with people trying to see the Forum. So I now watch the whole race on the Red Button from when it starts at 12, then at the end it automatically take you to the Forum. Also as a bonus if the commentry is annoying you, you can switch and listen to Crofty and Davidson for a little while or the whole race.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's clear for all to see that it was Vettel who turned in on Webber.

    DC called it, Martin Brundle called it, but now Christian Horner is trying to rewrite history by saying Mark was trying to save fuel and he pushed Vettel on to the dirty side. Blah, Blah, Blah, Mark Webber is being treated as the sacrificial lamb.

    What were the first words from DC according to Jake when he saw that incident? PRESSURE

    Jonathan Legard was spot on when he called it on his blog on Friday, pressure, pure and simple.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am surprised with all the comments, especially by the pundits and how they are making these conspiracy theories up. I think it was Webber's fault 60%, but i can also see it as Vettels fault a little, the main thing s Vettel was ahead of Webber, and any sensible driver usually backs out of the situation when a car is that far ahead, but Mark didn't, and we all know what type of racer Mark is, quite harsh like we saw in Brazil 09 Mark on Kimi.

  • Comment number 24.

    Response to Post 18.

    I Disagree, Webber gave him enough room, Vettel did not cross the white line or have to leave the circuit, yes it was tight, but he had room.

    Vettel clearly tried to shut the door before he has even passed Mark. Mark cannot know or would not expect his team mate to suddenly steer right into him.

    Not a racing incident, not Webber's fault.

  • Comment number 25.

    In response to 18. I can see that argument but I dont think Vettel gave Mark enough time to move over. Also i dont think it was a bump (16), Vettel moved over. Whether Mark should have yielded is irrelevant, Seb caused a collision by driving into his team mate.

  • Comment number 26.

    JB and LH gave master class in hard but fair racing. Listening carefully JB sais to LH on the way to the podium dont worry about it its just hard racing.

    If nothing else we learn today how much we hear is managed by PR, from LH desperately silencing MW and JB with nods of his head that screamed cameras!!!!! FOM cameras moving to JB when MW was describing SV manouvere at the press conference, and the fair and balanced we'll investigate speeches contrasted to the hugs at the pit wall. Was Whitmarsh beamed up!!!LOL

  • Comment number 27.

    Scrap my bit saying it was on No.2, as it looks like something weird happeded on the red button but still watch the whole thing on red button and you will never have to miss a forum again (-:

  • Comment number 28.

    What we saw today was great - two sets of teammates at Red Bull nad McLaren raceing wheel to wheel for position - as it should be.

    Therefore with hindsight and when put into context all the talk of Alonso being "stuck behind" Massa in earlier races seems a little hollow. Alonso hinted mischievously that he was quicker but did not want to risk conflict by trying to pass a teammate.

    Surely an aggressive born racer like Alonso would have done what Button and Vettel did today and had a go on the slower teammate if he was that much faster (especially in Australia where overtaking opportunities abound).

    Or was the talk of being "stuck" behind a slower teammate mindgames?

  • Comment number 29.

    Re post 19 from Surreybloke - exactly the same problem, except the red button never actually seemed to work at all. Very disappointing BBC, given that I always watch the forum and just when it promised to be most interesting it failed me.....

  • Comment number 30.

    Response to 24 and 25:
    Just rewatch the onboard slow-mo of Vettel: as he drives side by side with Webber he makes tiny corrections on the steering-wheel, som to the left, some to the right, but he definately doesn't steer to the right to push Webber aside. That is quite obvious.

  • Comment number 31.

    hi andrew, excellent insight on the race. lewis definately look subdued after thr race, he wasnt his usual self. at first i though maybe it has something to do with the fact that his dad wasnt present to see his first win of 2010 but looking back it might have something to do with the fact that he thought the team told him and jenson to save fuel and he was just coasting to the finish line, next thing he knows jenson was right on his tail because the team told jenson three laps later than lewis to conserve fuel. jenson completely took him off guard but luckily he was able to respond. im now starting to wonder about mclaren. are thet deliberately trying to jeopradise lewis or is it my overactive imagination.....mmmm i wonder

  • Comment number 32.

    I am neutral towards Vettel and Webber but as all replays show Vettel steer across the road Horner will be tarnishing Red Bulls sporting image passing blame to Webber amongst all other Neutrals like myself.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think Horner was responding to BBC questions on fuel and engine performance. There is overtaking and "chicken" SV played Chicken MW gave him a little and he paniced at the approaching corner. I think MW was a hiar off backing off, SV would brake late and MW take position back.

    For VMCLM and RB two cars very close with engineers on different strategies and team orders banned, means that we will have crashes and hurt feelings. Sadly we wont often get the chance to see it during the normal procession.

  • Comment number 34.

    Vettel claiming the corner was his is a bit silly before he has even braked. Webber might have outbraked him, who knows. 100% Vettels fault, and special consideration for team-mates works both ways, as Webber showed with his respect for the team in Malaysia.

    For some reason this reminds me of Japan 2007 when Vettel took Webber out after Hamilton suddenly slowed. His comment from the time probably still stands.

  • Comment number 35.

    Forum was not available on Freeview today because of the tennis, as Jake said at the end of the main programme. It was available on Sky though, and on this website.

    Accident looked like Vettel's fault to me. Will be interesting to see how tensions between Webber and Vettel develop during the season. Could we see a Hamilton/Alonso style falling out and one of the McLaren driver nicking the title despite Red Bull having the faster car?

    Andrew makes a good point about Canada. Montreal usually gives us an exciting race!

  • Comment number 36.

    30... you wont see him "steer", they're doing 300Kph. A slight pressure on the wheel will make the car turn fast. Watch the white line. He moved over.

    I'd sack Vettel

  • Comment number 37.

    Dear Post 30

    Specsavers for you on Tuesday.

    I rewound the dvr as did the BBC and he takes a right turn thinking he is clear but he was in theblind spot panicing over the corner.

  • Comment number 38.

    The crash was definitely Vettel's fault not Webber's. Can't believe that Christian Horner tried to blame Webber. That's not on! Lewis definitely didn't look impressed about Jenson having a go. Don't think I can remember a more miserable looking podium.

  • Comment number 39.

    @25

    Thats true, Vettel did move over quickly and Webber did say in the post racing interview that Vettel had moved over "very quickly" and before he knew, they touched. I honestly believe Webber, knowing these in-house order rulings with regards to overtaking that he knows he is at fault, so he is using that "moving over quickly" as a get-out jail free card to absolve himself from any blame regarding this incident.

    Maybe that explains why Vettel was consoled at the pitwall, because Webber broke that ruling. Whether those team orders are in accordance to racing ethics is another matter, but from a Redbull perspective Webber didn't move over when Vettel veered to the right. Also, explains why Horner was shouting "move move" as Vettel was passing Webber.

  • Comment number 40.

    One thing seems to have been missed in the recriminations after the race and that is Schumi. No ones really talking about how it's the first time he's outperformed Rosberg.

    On the crash, It looks to me like Red Bull ordered Webber to give Vettel the space, so he gave him the minimum needed. Had Vettel not veered right he'd have won the race. It is obviously his fault and you can't really blame Webber for not giving him more room to let his teammate pass in contravention to F1 rules.

    It looks like the "engine dial down" is how teams are now getting round the team orders rule, the thing about it is though that the drivers don't know if they are being given the dial down as a team order to let their team"mate" through or if they are both doing it.

  • Comment number 41.

    Andrew Benson: "it turns out that he had been asked to turn his engine down three laps later than Hamilton had."

    If you listen carefully, when asked about battling side by side with Lewis, Button strangely began by mentioning that he had been asked to conserve fuel from about lap 20 (the conserve fuel thing hadnt been mentioned yet). He then says Lewis was asked to start conserving fuel three laps before, and it appears that he is talking about 3 laps before the failed overtake attempt, not on lap 17 as your article suggested.

    As we know, Lewis was told a few laps before the failed overtake attempt, that they were both being asked to conserve fuel. Did the team mean that Button had been told to conserve fuel on lap 20 when they told Lewis that? I dont think so.

    Button seemed to be making the excuse that he was told to save fuel from way back on lap 20, long before Lewis was told, and Button claimed he didnt think the conserve fuel message was a coded message to hold position (whihc he was bound to say anyway). Though he clearly held position after the failed overtake attempt.

    But was Button told to conserve fuel after lap 20 and before the failed overtake attempt? If so, and it seems likely, did he deliberately misinterpret that message?

  • Comment number 42.

    Re post 30 - 54 74, you don't need to look at the steering wheel, just the side of the track that Vettel is blatantly steering away from. He very obviously was turning into Webber.

  • Comment number 43.

    If SV went through he was left of the racing line hence his swing to the right, would have muffed the corner and Mark would have retaken

    As VMCLM were right on SV tail if MW went wide for him he might have lost position to one of them as well.

  • Comment number 44.

    The two sides of the garage and the respective engineers playing with engine settings created the situation. They should have left well alone and saved the 1-2.

  • Comment number 45.

    Why do hamilton fanboys have a problem with Vettel?

  • Comment number 46.

    #35 didn't catch fully what he said but that obviously explains it. I suspect there will have been plenty of disappointed F1 fans!

  • Comment number 47.

    2010 = 2008, Webber = Alonso, Vettel = Hamilton

    Never mind what contracts have been signed, Red Bull's gonna lose Webber next year if they keep taking Vettel's side like this.

    PS: Amazing overtaking to&fro from the McLarens. And just a few races ago I was complaining about the lack of overtaking in F1! I wish all tracks were like Istanbul.

  • Comment number 48.

    What a pity the stewards didn't decide to hold an enquiry into the incident. That would have been fun! Problem is, there are three viewpoints, all different.
    1) What would the normal racing view be?
    Probably 100% Vettel's fault, not least he admits he lost control of the car.
    2) What if you take into account that they were team-mates?
    Not so obvious. There is an initial move towards him by Webber which didn't help, and by his own admission he gave Seb the least possible room. Should he have given more to his team mate to minimise the risk of an accident? Yes. So what...40/60, Mark/Seb?
    3)What if you then take into account the apparent rules within the team?
    New ball game. Seb had the speed, and was passing, maybe their rules are Mark should yield. That's what CH seems to be saying, and why he expected Mark to move over as it happened. So..well it depends doesn't it! But you could argue 60/40....
    But then again, did Seb really have more fuel, or was it a stitch-up in favour of Seb by the team that backfired....
    One thing for sure. Only a matter of time before they tangle again!

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm sick to death of S.Vettel. I remember the race last season where Webber won his first GP and Vettel said in a media interview afterward "it was a bad day for Red Bull". How self-obsessed is that!!! Of course he meant, "it was a bad day for S.Vettel. Webber?? Who's that?? I have a team mate?? Don't be ridiculous. Its all about me". He's never once has acknowledged Webber's success this or last season - I can't imagine how difficult it is for Webber, one of the most humble and hard working drivers on the track, to have this show-pony heir-apparent silver spooned prat in his garage with him.

    His selfishness today ruined his teammates race, his teams race, but most of all it ruined his own. He's a great driver but unbelievably reckless, incredibly arrogant and extremely selfish.

    Interestingly enough, watch the post race drivers conference and Mark explain to Lewis what happened after Jenson mentions it. Look at Mark's expression and that says everything of what he thinks of Vettel's move... I wonder if that position at Ferrari will open up for him...

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    If Vettel is being groomed within Red Bull he needs to earn the No.1 status, and todays display of poor judgement shows he is not yet ready for that mantle.
    I see another Schumacher in the making, win at all costs. Only problem is he may be blindingly quick when in front, but he lacks the cutting edge when working through the field. He appears reckless and arrogant when under pressure.
    At least Hamilton puts his hand up when the mistake is his, don't expect that from Vettel. Who does that remind you of?

  • Comment number 52.

    Vettel did something stupid and caused the accident, then compounds it by trying to blame his team mate. Then Horner, the man who should always be careful about what he says about his team and doesn't have the excuse of immaturity, crowns it with the biggest piece of total stupidity. If you take sides in public, at least be honest.

    Webber always was an excellent driver and he finally has a good car thanks to Adrian Newey. You might think or hope that Button, Hamilton et al should be his worries.

    If Vettel and Horner cannot sort themselves, I'd advise Mark Webber and Adrian Newey to find themselves a decent operation for next year, chase a few world championships and get away from people who don't know how to behave.

  • Comment number 53.

    It seems McLaren drivers will make effort to clear each other for another chance to overtake as we all see they did. It is right to give room for your team mate and right to make effort to retake your position.
    If mark would have given room he could have then turned his fuel back up and made attempt to retake his position. Did he think he needed to hold Vettle to the edge where he wouldnt make the next corner to keep position? He could see Seb was past him comming into the corner and refused him room. What good would come of this? It was too late for Seb to back out. His best shot would have been to let him pass and turn the gas back up...so he is very lucky to have a third position - second would have been better. Did he think he wouldnt be able to retake? Was third better than being second to Sebastion??? Not the best choice for the team now is it?

  • Comment number 54.

    It appears to me that Button is feigning ignorance of team orders, at least until after he failed to make the move on Hamilton stick.

    When the team told Lewis that Button had also been told to conserve fuel, were they referring to Button being told to conserve fuel on lap 20? What lap was it that we heard Lewis being told to conserve fuel?

    I think Button was told to conserve fuel when we heard of Lewis being told, which was about 3 laps before the overtake attempt, i think Button chose to ignore the team orders implication of that. Either that or the team misled Lewis when they told him that both drivers had been told to conserve fuel.

    Its no wonder that Lewis was confused. Is the 'i'm innocent' claim by Button genuine, did the team mislead Lewis, or did Lewis simply imagine that the conserve fuel message was code for holding position?

  • Comment number 55.

    Watching the forum again and the slowmo videos and to tell the truth it looks like Vettel is busy looking in his mirrors, so maybe no one is to really blame?

  • Comment number 56.

    At first I was thrilled to see Shume back - but now that he is just holding everyone back I don't know. The qualifying spin looked like old time tricks again...

  • Comment number 57.

    Vettel is to blame

  • Comment number 58.

    I'd have to go 75/25 to vettel in the fault stakes i'm affriad, Mark could and possably should? have given more space seeing as it was his team mate not just another driver BUT would Seb play the team game if the roles where reversed, i think not?
    I must say if i was Mark i'd be having words with Christian who made it sound very much like Seb is his blue eyed boy ?

    I have also been having trouble with the red button, the sports index title is no longer used apparently?? i had to click on tennis to go to the sports index then choose the correct channel for the forum, BBC please sort it out or at least warn people ???

    Andrew- yet another great artical, thank you :)

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 47.

    Don't worry, the Turkish Grand Prix is the exception that proves the rule - no rain = no interest. Things will be back to normal soon, I'm sure.

    ;-)

  • Comment number 60.

    'it looks like Vettel is busy looking in his mirrors, so maybe no one is to really blame'

    Must remember that one. 'Sorry I drove into that car officer, but I was busy looking in my mirrors not watching where I was going, so not my fault was it!' :-)

    Get me off every time ;-)

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    @60

    haha good point I meant it in the way he was looking back and forward and back and forward and was not really concentrating.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 50 - grow up!

    @51 - I like Hamilton a lot, but when he is not always great at raising his hand at an error... His reaction to ploughing into Kimi a couple of years back was pretty woeful.

    Whatever people say about Lewis and Vettel, it makes F1 far more interesting having poeple like them who want to race. Yes, it was Vettel's fault, but there you go - move on. This will test RB's mettle - if they let this derail their season, then they don't deserve to win it. Vettel is young and will make mistakes, and this is where the team have to get behind him. Other young drivers have made similar mistakes and gone on to be champions. No point nailing them to the wall about it, especially as he's an exceptional talent.

    Whitmarsh's reaction was interesting. While Horner was wrong in seeming to point the finger at Webber, the fact that him and the team seem willing to stand by Vettel is a positive thing, as linked to my above point. They can throw away one race or the season.

  • Comment number 64.

    62 Joe... 'he was looking back and forward and back and forward and was not really concentrating'

    Ah - THAT'S why you don't think it was his fault then :-)

    (Offers spade to help dig bigger hole ;-) )

  • Comment number 65.

    Seb's fault 90%. Seb was too optimistic on that move and I think Mark gave him enough room. Mark was on the race line so why should he give up completely to that?
    Also the thinking of Seb was like this: let's try to pass him and if I will make a mistake and squeeze him too much for sure he will help me in that situation because we are teammates so we have to avoid the crash in any circumstances.

    Greetings from Romania!

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 64

    haha :) I think i'll shut up!

  • Comment number 67.

    I think Vettel was 100% to blame but in response to all those who characterise him as a whinger who never admits when he's wrong I would point to Australia 09 when he apologised to Kubica even though I personally thought he was not at fault and most regarded it as a 50-50.

    At that juncture (with Vettel's nice guy image still intact at that point) I remember one Eddie Jordan remarking that real winners never apologise as their conviction and single-mindedness is so strong, and then saying Schumacher, Senna etc always stood by their decisions on the track.

    So if he doesn't apologise he's selfish and ungentlemanly and if he does he's an uncompetitive wimp??

    Vettel can't win.

  • Comment number 68.

    66 Joe - Aww come on mate, I was on a roll there ! ;-)

  • Comment number 69.

    I think you all have missed the big point in all this Horner is just a puppet on a string!!!
    And if Dietrich Mateschitz says jump its bye bye Mark and a big hello this years champion Mr Vettel.. His long lost son...

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    I find Christian Horner's comments on the incident simply staggering.
    To begin to justify the incident as being race leaders Mark Webber's fault, whilst he was still maintainig that lead, despite complying with Red Bulls instruction to be in fuel saving mode, whilst also admitting that second placed Seb Vettel was still in full race mode is nothing short of culpable team orders being given to Mark Webber to allow Seb to pass.
    Was Mark aware that his team mate was being given an esoteric advantage over him? Probably not, I feel.
    The claim that Seb had an extra kilo of fuel over Mark is impossible to prove now, as ultimately Seb quite spectacularly failed to finish the race and nearly took his team mate with him.
    What I totally fail to understand is why Seb was being favoured over Mark, when Mark was leading the race, and also leading the F1 championship, by virtue of having a second GP win over Seb?
    Maybe Seb Vettels sponsors have more clout and money that Mark Webbers? but whoever wins glory surely wins it for the team? We the punters only see the sponsors logos, with little interest in who paid for them.
    So I'm inclined to feel that Red Bull have possibly done themselves considerably more harm than good from today's little fracas.
    For those like myself, who have previously admired their massive advancement in the past 2 seasons, I now have cause to stop and think what is actually going on within the team? Are they suddenly so self-assured and confident of success, that they can nominate which driver is to be their appointed or anointed champion?
    Neither driver can claim natural ascendency, as neither have previously been World Champion before.
    I'm no more a natural Mark Webber fan, anymore than I am a Seb Vettel hater either, he's a brilliant future talent, but like Lewis Hamilton, Seb needs to understand that the Championship needs to be won, rather than simply assumed as of right.

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    What I want to know is why everyone thinks VMCLM would favour JB? Over the last few years everyone has said that they are LH's team so why would they suddenly change this season? VMCLM team boss Martin Whitmarsh said that they give equal opportunities to their drivers, DC who drove for them agreed. So why the sudden paranoia?

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 71

    its cool man, I may never comment again haha

  • Comment number 76.

    Vettel is to blame 150%. Webber has been fair.
    Remember when vettle jumped webber in the beginning of a race by leaving too much room. Webber didnt later on in the race come and smack vettel out of the race did he?
    Why should webber give vettel loads of room this time, why to let vettel win. this is racing. webber deserved this hactrick of wins. Vettel though being reb bull's baby had to ruin webbers championship.
    The worst thing is tha Mr Horner decides to attack Mark and give vettel a cuddle and a gold star for effort, while Mark is left as the 'evil' one.
    If I was mark I leave that team and go to a team that respects him, instead of a team like red bull creating a mini schumacher

  • Comment number 77.

    I think people are not considering where this was on track. Webber had to move over because they were both on the wrong side of the track and the 2 Mclarens would have taken them both if they were going to stay on the line Webber was holding them to. It was into a hairpin, and neither of them were going to make it round at enough speed to stop Hamilton on the racing line. Vettel expected Webber to move, but Webber didn't.
    I just think Webber could not bring himself to yield to Vettel, who had put the move in and was clearly quicker for a few laps.

  • Comment number 78.

    sbpsman - I suspect the truth about the petrol issue may be that the team were trying to 'right' a perceived wrong, namely that they had let Seb down a few times in Mark's favour. Understandable, if not necessarily right. And it all went pear-shaped.

    But you are certainly right on one thing - the person who comes out of this worst is the normally respected Christian Horner. He may, as I intimated above, have a point that because of their team rules Mark should yield, or at least give Seb room, once he got his nose in front. We don't know what their rules are. But on-camera he should have done what, to his credit, Seb did, and refuse to allocate blame. In appearing to blame Mark he has done great damage to his and the team's image, and to relationships in the garage which it is precisely his job to protect.

  • Comment number 79.

    Vettel was clearly at fault. It's true what they say about him being very like Schumacher. He can clearly be seen turning into Webber, just like Schumacher did to Graham Hill. Anyway, enough about that, lets have some rain and then Hamilton can show them all who the true champion is.

  • Comment number 80.

    And, by the way...without sounding like a fan of conspiracy theory made in Austria, I would not be too surprised that Austrian pack of people will put a high pressure on the team so Seb will win this year WDC. I have done business with Austrian people and they are ruthless when they are following their interests, fair play and people's feelings being the last things they care in those moments. I am concerned for Mark also by reading that Dr. Marko backed up Seb. I hope I will be wrong about that!

  • Comment number 81.

    Could this be the race that hands the momentum to Mclaren?

    More telling than the Red Bull incident was the telling way that the Red Bull drivers reacted post race compared to the way that the McLaren drivers reacted to their battle.

    Both Vetal and Webber gave negative comments about the other driver after the race. And bizarrely so did Horner. If I was team principle, as soon as the incident had happened I would have told both drivers to keep a tight lip and avoid any negative comments about the other drivers. That way any inquest is conducted privately under the control of the team. Now, in particular given Horner's comments, both drivers are going to be under scrutiny for at least the next couple of weeks.

    Compare this to McLaren. Given Hamilton's reactions in winning (he didn't look like a man that had won!) the race there was an underlying problem that at least Hamilton wasn't happy about. Yet both drivers were gracious to each other and any differences will be sorted privately and at least publicly will be forgotten about in two weeks time.

    By his words Horner has placed his team under great pressure in the lead up to the next GP. His public comments are likely to fuel great tensions between the drivers. McLaren I believe have just as many team tensions, yet their lack of public comments will have alleviated some of that pressure. Despite their performance advantage, the lack of public facing discipline could cost Red Bull the championships.

  • Comment number 82.

    This fiasco is quickly becoming a fine can of worms. Two weeks to try and stabalise the team before Canada isn't long enough so expect things to simmer and erupt again shortly. My money's on Mark as long as the team allow him to race.

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi all

    Thanks for all your comments so far. If I can just clarify something, re post 41 by ljhgvoutdytd. I think you have misinterpreted my article. I'm not talking about lap 17, and don't mention it, I simply say "Button had been asked to turn down his engine three laps before Hamilton had". This is clearly in the immediate run-up to Button passing Hamilton, the part of the race I'm talking about.

  • Comment number 84.

    I can see that I am in the minority but what I saw was this:

    1) Vettel massively quicker than Webber

    2) Webber steers left after Vettel was already committed to go left

    3) Vettel squeezes through an impossibly small space and gets ahead

    4) Vettel tries to get back towards the racing line, squeezing Webber back

    5) Webber makes no attempt to go right either to give Vettel room or even to get himeself onto the racing line for the braking zone or the next corner

    Even though he has lost the lead and can see his wheels banging Vettels car, Webber still keeps going straight.

    I have commented before about how aggressive modern drivers and have legitimised the sort of "scare-em" twitch that Schumacher tried on JB, that Webber and Vettel also put on Hamilton as well as on each other.

    Clearly, Brundle, DC and co think there is nothing wrong with this that it is hard-but-fair. My opinion is different: it's dangerous and reduces overtaking to desperate measures. This attitude is why we have so many processions.

    If I wrote the rules, I would make it a drive through penalty to steer towards another car that is either fully or partly alongside. When I say steer towards, I mean relative to the racing line so going straight on would be just the same as not going right.

    It might be necessary to put sensors on the cars to notify a driver that there is an overlap, but something has to be done before there is an aeroplane style crash in a situation like this.

  • Comment number 85.

    @63 - Indeed Vettel is young and will make these mistakes ... and it's at the cost of his teammate, who is a veteran that's paid his dues, done his time and earned his place.

    Vettel's had everything handed to him on a silver plater, coming straight into a competitive team and when things don't go his own way he can't mentally cope with it. And then Horner cuddles him like a little hurt boy, while older brother Mark gets sent to his room...

    Let Vettel cut his nails in toro rosso longer and stop introducing disharmony into the RB garage. This is why I love the elder racers like Webber, Button and barrichello. They've earned their place and they know how to behave like men. These new pretty boy silver spooned tantrum throwers like Vettel and Hamilton remind me of football players

  • Comment number 86.

    What a race! We should all be grateful for today's incidents. It reminds me of the good old days of Senna and Prost. Let us remember we are dealing with Alpha Males here, and they all want to be king. Let's face facts, Red Bull see Vettel as a future multi world champion, I doubt they see Webber the same way. Now personally, I prefer Webber, but that's probably because I'm English and he's a straight talking Aussie. It was Vettel's fault, in my opinion, and Mr Horner's reaction was not well measured. However, as another post has pointed out, he is just the oily rag, the Engineer sits at home in Austria pulling the strings. Let's just hope that RB do not conspire to ruin Webber's season.

  • Comment number 87.

    Good article, got things just about right there. It mut be said that on lap 18 vettel did the same to hamilton as he tried to pass (clearly seen from the in car footage) which hamilton appeared to complain about post race.
    Vettel has a nasty habit of junking right in an effort to strong arm whoever is next to him on the track (or the pitlane as LH discovered earlier in the season) It is not something vettel appears to be naturally good at (intimidation) he always seems to cause more trouble for himself than he does the other driver, its something Christian and presumably Helmut should be talking to sebastien about, overtaking is vettels weak point and he needs to temper his impetuous gestures if he ever wants to win a WDC.

  • Comment number 88.

    With reference to people complaining about no red button forum, jake clearly stated that the f1 forum was available online and on the red button but not to freeview viewers.
    I often watch the forum on the i-player at a later time as 4 and a half to 5 hours is a long time to be slobbed on the couch watching tv and ignoring the family.
    Anyway, good coverage from the BBC and hopefully they'll keep the rights forever.
    BTW - Webber caused the situation, Vettel caused the problem. Vettels fault but they are all racers and things like that are bound to happen now and then. Roll on Canada.

  • Comment number 89.

    Firstly, may I congratulate the BBC on the superb coverage of the Turkish race, particularly the enthralling F1 Forum on the red button. Fascinating and compelling. The team was brilliant but Anthony Davidson is easily the best pundit you have.

    I thought Hamilton probably looked cheesed off on the podium because he was under the impression that the race had been called off by the team and so was very surprised when Button came past. Perhaps he perceived it as a breach of trust in the same mode and Pironi and Villeneuve all those years ago at Imola. I think he changed his opinion once he had talked to Button.

    As for Red Bull, it was clearly Vettel who caused the accident. He had already won the corner so why on earth did he pull over into Webber?

    One final word for jinkingjimmy (see above). I know Schumi is old but he certainly never turned in on Graham Hill!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    After 3 races with no Classic GPs broadcast on Freeview, we now have no F1 Forum too. And yet the schedulers have the audacity to broadcast programmes funded by us licence-fee payers on Sky.
    Supposedly no slots for F1 but several nights showing a Eurovision quiz. I guess the answer must be that for F1 to get the same billing the Brits need to finish dead last not 1-2. May I request that, when the Murdoch inspired cuts at the BBC are implemented by the new Government, the first people that should be 'let go' are the Freeview progamme schedulers.

  • Comment number 91.

    Good blog Andrew; and good discussion from it (at least those who've stayed on topic).
    My view was that it was Vettel's fault: witness the v slight turn of the wheel towards Webber. At the speed they were going, along a straight, and with the minmial steering lock of these cars - that constitues 'a turn' imho.
    But I've now had it independently confirmed by 'she who must be obeyed' (aka 'er indoors) - who has absolutely no interest in F1 - but has just proclaimed that "the one on the left [i.e. Vettel when viewed from Webber's on-board camera] was at fault because he moved over." End of!
    And what was Christian Horner thinking - blaming one of his employees (Webber) in public? That's very poor management practice in my books.

  • Comment number 92.

    In my opinion Mark Webber, was as hard and fair as he has always been, and Sebastien Vettel showed his age and impatience by trying to make such a move to try and showed how rattled he was by the calibre of drivers around him. Two world champions behind him and a classy experienced driver in front.
    What really annoyed me was Christian Horner`s apparent view that Mark Webber was at fault and Vettel was blameless. He has seriosly gone down in my estimation as a result of this.
    Mark Webber now knows where the teams allegiance now truly lies if he didn`t already.

  • Comment number 93.

    From following F1 racing quite fanaticly for almost 50 years now I gathered that a car in front can choose its position on the track while the following car has the resposibility to stay clear of and not crash into the car in front. The following car's driver is also the one who has the view to see. The leading car's driver's view to the back is marginal and the mirrors on a F1 car are a joke as I could experience while once driving a F1 car myself.
    I was surprised not to hear the above from the often excellent BBC commentators.
    As I remember there has been an agreement made in the past that gave an overtaking driver the "right of way" not when the nose of his car was in front but allready from the moment the nose of the overtaking car reached beside the driver who was being passed. This done to facilitate overtaking.
    Vettel was clearly in front.
    So in my opinion it was Vettel's "fault" that he attacked instead of taking care of the (financial) interests of his team. BUT I LIKE TO SEE RACING! And the primary F1 championchip is a driver's championchip.
    It is all driver's responcibility not to crash (especially into a team mate). But in my opinion Webber should have given Vettel more space on the track to position himself on the track for the next corner and Webber should have given himself more space for time to react to Vettel's moves.
    Sincerely,
    Fred.



  • Comment number 94.

    Andrew, i have not misinterpreted your article, i'm saying you have misinterpreted Button's comments.

    Listen carefully to the very link you provided.

    In fact, you can tell that Button is laying the blame on Hamilton for not yet being used to being in conserve fuel mode, whilst Button informs us that he has been conserving fuel since lap 20.

    Andrew, i mention lap 17 because you claim that Button says that "he had been asked to turn his engine down three laps LATER than Hamilton had" (read your own words for goodness sake, i did a copy and paste), which after Button said he had been asked to conserve fuel from lap 20 would mean Lewis was told to do so on lap 17, its simple maths my dear, to emphasise the absurdity of your assertion .

    Watch the clip again, listen to exactly what Button says, and absorb what all that means, and admit you have just misrepresented your own article in post 83 when you inserted the word "before" where the word "later" should be.

    How much do they pay you?

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm surprised Vettel hasn't been given a penalty or something. No if, buts or maybes, he crashed into another driver ruining his race for him. If Webber had been in a different team Vettel would have been penalised.

  • Comment number 96.

    @79
    Vettel was clearly at fault. It's true what they say about him being very like Schumacher. He can clearly be seen turning into Webber, just like Schumacher did to Graham Hill. Anyway, enough about that, lets have some rain and then Hamilton can show them all who the true champion is.

    Schumacher is getting on but Graham Hill!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    Im of the opinion that Vettel was to blame totally for the accident regardless of red bulls rules the guy clearly turned in on webber........must have been taking tips from mr shuyie.... gogo the mclarens

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 87 Absolutely spot on, I noticed Vettel in the highlights show doing the same thing to Hamilton earlier on in the race. IMO Vettel was to blame, and Horner has created a fair amount of pressure for himself. Today could be a pivotal point in the Championship.

  • Comment number 99.

    Will Vettel think twice before pulling a 50/50 pass on Webber next time?

    As long as both drivers are treated fairly in the RB team in the future I think that Mark will come out on top of Vettel, after todays events

  • Comment number 100.

    Christian Horner is looking like a very desperate man, He knows like all the world does that if he upsets the rookie German it will make his move to Mercedez quicker than red bull would like.

    The sad thing is Webber is probably his best chance of the title but he cant even see it!!

    Whitmarsh hit the nail on the head when he said i dont understand why Vettel is getting cuddles on the pit wall!

    PS please dont ever tell me Vettel is the new Schumacher its clear Micheal has forgotten more than Vettel will ever know about being a F1 driver

 

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