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Vettel 'only human' when it comes to booing - Horner

ESPN Staff
September 23, 2013 « Lotus reprimanded for Grosjean pit stop | Ferrari hopes hang on Vettel issues - Domenicali »
Sebastian Vettel was booed on the podium in Singapore © Sutton Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel is "only human" and does not deserve the boos he has received on the podium at recent races.

Vettel has been booed on a number of occasions this year after winning races, including at the last two rounds in Italy and Singapore. After his dominant performance on Sunday night, Horner said it was wrong to boo his driver.

"Standing up on the podium all you can see is a small collective group and it's like a pantomime," he said. "I think it's so unfair because it's not sporting. The boy today has driven an unbelievable race. What you've witnessed today is something that I think is one of the best drives I've seen him produce in terms of raw pace and what he can deliver.

"I just don't think it's sporting for a driver who has put in a performance like that to not get the reception he deserves. Of course he says it doesn't affect him and he doesn't feel it, but he's a human being at the end of the day. And when you've driven your heart out and you get that reaction, to me it's not fair, it's not right and it's not deserved in any way. He's got a broad set of shoulders but like anyone he's got feelings and it's not right.

"He's a great kid and he's got a big heart at the end of the day. Of course he's ambitious and he's a competitor and he will push. He enjoys winning but it's a shame and I hope it will change in upcoming races."

The boos have only started since Vettel snatched victory away from Mark Webber at Malaysia by defying team orders, but Horner cannot see why that would leave such a lasting legacy.

"For sure Malaysia didn't help but it's been done, there's been an awful lot written about it and there were circumstances that were involved in that. When you have a serial winner, it's a little bit like Muhammad Ali, you want to see who's going to beat him. At the moment people want to see who's going to beat Sebastian, so maybe when he keeps winning people want to see who is going to beat him. But I still think it's not sporting and it's not fair not to recognise a sportsman when he delivers in the way that he has."

Horner said Fernando Alonso received similar treatment in the past but is now a fan favourite because he plays up to being the underdog.

"We've heard it with Fernando," he added. "I remember when I first came into the sport, Fernando, in the years that he was winning with Renault, he was booed everywhere he went. When he raced against Lewis Hamilton at McLaren he was hugely unpopular. Now he's the most popular drive in the pit lane.

"Everybody loves an underdog and of course he has now got that and he's working it incredibly well. Sebastian, I think, is delivering at a level that is a pleasure to see and I think it won't affect him."