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GP Week : Issue 93
SEBASTIAN Vettel was incredulous when he heard he'd been handed a drive-thru penalty. "Why?" he cried, and waved his fist in frustration as he crawled down the pit lane, handing position to Fernando Alonso. "I know you're upset, we're all upset, but remember there's nothing you can say now that is going to change anything. Take a deep breath," advised his engineer, Rocky, before Seb climbed the steps of the podium with his race-winning team mate. Vettel had been flying. He led the race from pole, while Mark Webber lost out on the dirty side of the grid and was passed into Turn 1 by Alonso. At this point, it looked like the very most Webber could hope for was second because the German was uncatchable. Vettel was pulling a second a lap ahead of the Ferrari. Then the Safety Car appeared on lap 23, due to debris on track. Vettel took the last minute decision to pit, and Alonso did the same -- much to Webber's relief: "We had to go off strategy and do something different," he explained. At first it seemed like a highly risky strategy, but then again when you have that kind of pace any strategy works. At the restart, Vettel wasn't paying attention. For being more than 10 car lengths behind Webber, the stewards penalized him: "The radio connection was lost and I was sleeping. I was waiting for instruction of when the Safety Car would come in. I didn't see the lights. Mark would usually drop back when the Safety Car is coming in, and he was close up. I was caught out." It was an expensive mistake, for Vettel was easily on course to win this race but his drive-thru put him behind second placed Alonso and the nature of the Hungaroring meant he just couldn't pass: "It would have been a walk in the park, but it didn't happen. Fernando was faster on the straights so it was impossible to pass." After the Safety Car, Webber pushed unbelievably hard for 27 laps to build a 23 second gap that would allow him to pit and return to the lead. "The front left was completely finished. I knew once I got the primes on, with the others having done 20-odd laps, it was in the bag. I was gifted this one, but I haven't had many of them so I'll happily take it." Webber now leads the championship on 161 points, four points ahead of Lewis Hamilton who retired with gearbox problems. Red Bull also jump ahead of McLaren in the constructors' tally. Vettel is now third on 151. On the podium, the German stared at the ground scowling while his team- mate celebrated. For him, the Australian national anthem sounded like nails on a chalkboard ... F1 HUNGARY >> 27