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2013 Mal GP - Weekend recap - Vettel

Sebastian Vettel claimed his first win of the 2013 Formula One World Championship and his 27th career victory on Sunday.

His latest victory moves him alongside the great Sir Jackie Stewart who also took three world drivers titles in 1969, 1971 and 1973.

But of all his victories this one will prove to be the most hollow after taking it in controversial circumstances.

The weekend had started well, the one lap race pace that Red Bull had shown in Australia was also there in full affect in Malaysia, with Vettel showing quick times throughout free practice, before taking pole position on Saturday afternoon.

Vettel put in a quick lap to take pole position ahead of Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

ďIt was very difficult as the circuit was half dry and half wet today Ė so it was difficult to find the right compromise between pushing hard and also saving the tyres. It was the right strategy to come in and change the tyres and the pace was there. It was a good session in Q3 and it was clear what we had to do, so Iím pleased with the result. Itís a long race tomorrow and whoever wins will have done the best job. We managed to save some tyres today which will help if the race is dry, but we will see.Ē he told after qualifying.

The race was predominantly dry, but started under damp conditions due to a rain shower prior to the race. This meant that the race began under wet conditions and on the intermediate wet tyre.

Vettel pulled away from the start of the race and kept the lead of the race going into the first sequence of corners, a slight tap from behind by Fernando Alonso didn't affect Vettel's car, whilst ultimately ending the Spaniard's race after Ferrari opted to not make a pit stop to change his damaged wing, only for it to force his retirement just hundreds of yards away from his pit box.

The Red Bull's didn't lose their race pace like they did in Australia and Vettel was in contention for the race win all day long, although was second best to team-mate Mark Webber during periods of the day.

The German was forced to follow around behind Webber as the Australian controlled the race much to the frustration of Vettel.

Lap 28 was when the Formula One television audience began to hear the rumblings of discontent in the Red Bull team, with Sebastian Vettel getting on the team radio to say 'he's too slow get him out of the way'.

The tone in his voice was also a clear indication of his frustration, it was said with a clear discontent for his team-mate, but his actions were only going to get worse from this position onwards.

At this point they hadn't even completed their final round of pit-stops and once they had Vettel found himself behind Hamilton and Webber.

Hamilton of course proved to be no competition with the Brit having to go into a fuel saving mode and Vettel soon found himself once again behind Webber in second place.

Once Webber had pitted the two team-mates found themselves side by side going into the first corner, Webber excellently defended his position for the remainder of the lap and they appeared to settle down into position, with team-orders clear to hold station coming from the pit wall.

But just one lap later Vettel crudely threw his car dangerously close to the pit wall down the straight to squeeze down the inside going into the first corner. The two Red Bull's briefly banging wheels but once again Webber kept first place going through the early corners of lap 46 [10 laps to go] before Vettel eventually completed the pass for the lead.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner labelled the move 'silly' during one of the broadcasted radio messages, but with numerous laps remaining Vettel held on to the lead leaving Webber to finish in second place.

It seemed that despite plenty of laps remaining to hand the position back to Mark Webber, Vettel only regained his head after the chequered flag had waved.

ďI messed up today. I would love to come up with a nice excuse as to why I did it, but I canít. I can understand Markís frustration and the team not being happy with what I did today; I owe an explanation to him and the whole team. I will try to explain to them later. We talk about this situation happening many times and what we will do if and when it happens and normally it doesnít, but today it did and I should have translated the call into action. I got the call and I ignored it. Mark and I are used to fighting each other when weíre close, but with the tyres how they are now, and not knowing how long they will last, it was an extremely big risk to ignore the call to stay second. We could have ended up finishing eighth or ninth after destroying the tyres in those two laps; I put myself above a team decision, which was wrong. I didnít mean to and I apologise. Iím not happy Iíve won, I made a mistake and if I could undo it I would. Itís not easy right now and I owe apologies to Mark and the team.Ē

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday March 26 2013

Time: 1:00PM


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