Counseling was needed after Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel muscled his teammate Mark Webber out of the way, en route to scoring a victory. Anger management, grief counseling, couples therapy. You name it.
Webber, leading the race, was following Red Bull team orders to conserve fuel and tires. Team leader Christian Horner radioed Vettel to back off Webber’s tailpipe, but Vettel ignored the order and nearly punted Webber aside in shoving his way past. Vettel went on to win; Webber, victim of another team error that cost him a finish at the Australian season opener a week earlier, carried on for second place four seconds in arrears.
“I think I did a big mistake today,” Vettel, the defending series champion, said in a post-race news conference with Webber – to whom he publicly apologized. “I think we should have stayed in the positions that we were.”
Webber remained visibly upset afterward, as Vettel noted to reporters.
“It’s very raw,” Webber said of his deteriorating relationship with his teammate.
Third place went to Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was also miffed that team orders prevented him from overtaking Hamilton’s obviously slower machine. Hamilton said he regretted Rosberg’s predicament, but he stopped short of an apology. Rosberg was scored fourth.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who battled Vettel to the wire for last year’s world title, somehow rammed into the back of Vettel’s car at the start of the Malaysian race and retired in last place. Short-braking, anyone?