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Vettel was 'paying back' Webber

ESPN Staff
April 11, 2013 « Relationship needs rebuilding - Webber | No favoured driver at Mercedes - Rosberg »
Vettel refuses to apologise for winning

Sebastian Vettel admits he was "indirectly" paying back Mark Webber in Malaysia for previous situations between the two drivers and says he would do the same again as his team-mate "didn't deserve" to win.

Following Vettel's decision to ignore team orders and overtake Webber to win the race at Sepang, occasions when Webber has done similar have been cited in Vettel's defence. Having himself said "I respect Mark a lot as a racing driver but I think there was more than one occasions in the past when he could have helped the team but he didn't", Vettel was asked if he was "paying him back" for not getting his team-mate's help in Brazil last year, to which he replied: "Probably you could say indirectly so.

"But as I tried to explain after the race in my opinion it's always best to be truthful. Maybe sometimes the truth is not what the people want to hear because as you can see controversy is more popular than the truth. I told you after the race what happened; I was racing, as a racing driver I was solely focused on winning the race. I got a call on the radio which I heard but I didn't understand at the time.

"I should have understood, that's why I apologised to the team because in my action I put myself above the team but that wasn't my intention. Whether you believe me or not is up to you."

Despite his apologies, Vettel said he would ignore the team order again in the same situation because Webber "didn't deserve" to win.

"I think if I had understood the message then obviously I would have thought about it - I'm not sure I can give you a perfect answer on this - but thinking about it I probably had realised at the moment that there was quite a conflict. On the one hand I think I'm the kind of guy that respects team decisions but on the other hand Mark is not the one that deserved it at the time.

ESPN Comment

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"I'm not sure I can give you a proper answer because in the moment it might be different but I'd probably do the same ... I apologised because with my action I disobeyed a team order and put myself about the team. Had I understood the message then I think I would have thought about it, reflected on what it means, what the team wants me to do - to leave Mark in first place and me finish second - I would have thought about it and probably done the same thing because Mark didn't deserve that."

Acknowledging that Webber would not help him if required later in the championship, Vettel said: "I think being completely honest I never had support from his side. I have got a lot of support from the team and I think the team is supporting both of us in the same way."

Vettel added that he didn't feel he was beyond reproach despite not being sanctioned by the team.

"I did speak up and I did apologise, and I meant it. Sanction, as in punishment? What do you expect? Maybe it's a little bit of a dreamland you all live in but what do you expect to happen? Make a suggestion... I think we dealt with it internally. As I said, I did apologise to the team, I took it very seriously. I went to see the team as soon as I could - the whole team, not just the people working here - and I told them as well."