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GP Week : Issue 180
F1 >>> NEWS EDITOR: Kate Walker firstname.lastname@example.org MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott F1 NEWS EDITOR Abhishek Takle TECHNICAL EDITOR Paolo Filisetti CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Leigh O'Gorman PRODUCTION ARTIST Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Daniel Kalisz PUBLISHER Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK GOOD GUY TURNS BAD The Red Bull ‘Multi 21’ team orders saga rumbled on in the build-up to the Chinese Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel going back on his very public apology to Mark Webber following the last race in Malaysia where the German snatched the win from his unsuspecting teammate. Vettel’s actions in Malaysia revealed a ruthless edge to the Red Bull driver’s character that was always present underneath the easy-going, Monty Python-loving ‘British’ image he had worked so hard to cultivate. Who can forget Vettel’s speech at the 2011 Autosport Awards, when the newly crowned double world champion imitated Kimi Raikkonen, joked about the Finn’s party-loving ways, Jenson Button’s age and being German? “As a German I have to make a complaint other wise I wouldn’t be a proper German,” Vettel jokingly said at the time. The fans loved it. Then there was the ‘Top Gear’ interview where he joked about sticking two fingers up at his idol Michael Schumacher every time he lapped the returning seven-time world champion. It was this chummy, chatty attitude that differentiated Vettel from his boyhood hero, the record-shattering seven-time world champion whose public persona always came across as arrogant in his glory days. Vettel’s sense of humour was a breath of fresh air, and is what endeared him to fans worldwide – including the British public, who had never liked Schumacher. Vettel’s tantrum-throwing, petulant side had come out from time-to-time over the years, but was widely seen as making the near-perfect racer a little more human. But the ‘Multi-21’ affair, and his subsequent admission that he would probably repeat his actions from Malaysia, has most certainly dented his standing with fans, in the paddock, and – to a certain extent – his credibility with journalists. “I think being completely honest, I never had support from his side,” Vettel said. “I have a lot of support from the team, and the team has supported both of us the same way. But in terms of relationship to Mark, I respect him a lot as a racing driver, but I think there was more than one occasion in the past where he could have helped the team and he didn't. “I apologised to the team because it was the last thing I want as a team member, which is what I am and how I feel,” he continued. “I am one of the guys, you might say I am more or less important but I feel more or less on the same level and as a team member I didn't obey the team's order, which as I said was not my intention. My intention if you look at it as a racing driver is to win the race, so I don't apologise for winning the race. ... I was racing and I wanted to win. In that regard, I succeeded.” Vettel’s remarks were not well received within the paddock, with even the normally non-commital Jenson Button passing comment: “I’m surprised [Seb] said that,” Jenson Button said in the Shanghai paddock. “He’s such a talented driver, very successful and he seems like a driver the team love, who is likeable and an easy-going character, so it is surprising for him to say that. Obviously he’s done it once and he knew what he was doing.” 6 GPWEEK.com // 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: