Red Bull threw away a one-two win in Turkey today after Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided in an incident which team principal Christian Horner described as “massively disappointing”.
Vettel attempted to pass Webber to take the lead, but instead hit his teammate. The damage to Vettel’s car meant he failed to finish, while Mark Webber pitted for a new front wing and came home third.
“Sebastian had a bit of a top speed advantage, he went down the inside and we were side by side,” said Webber, as he explained how the incident unfolded.
“I was surprised when he came right suddenly, as I was holding my racing line,” added the Australian, subtly indicating which driver he felt was responsible. “It happened very, very fast and it's a shame for the team. Not an ideal day.”
In the early stages of the race, Webber’s lead was under threat from Lewis Hamilton, who made several attempts to get past the Aussie. After the pit-stops, it was Vettel who ended up in second place, although the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Jenson Button were not far behind.
“The McLarens were solid and it was a good race between all four of us up at the front until [the incident], neither of us wanted to make contact with each other,” continued Webber. It's obviously not ideal, but it happened. There was a long way to still go in the race, but that was an interesting few metres on the track between both of us.
“In the end it wasn't the result that either of us wanted. We've got great character in our team and two fast drivers at the front – we're not dicing for 15th and 16th – we're going for victories so there's clearly a lot at stake. I'll have a chat with Sebastian about it, we might have a difference of opinion but we'll be adults about it and press on.”
Many pundits and ex-drivers laid the blame for the incident firmly at Vettel’s door, and the young German did not deny that it was his fault.
“If you watch it on the TV, you can see what happened,” said Vettel. “I'm not in the happiest of moods. I was on the inside going into the corner. I was there, I was ahead and focusing on the braking point and then we touched. Mark's car hit my rear right wheel and I went off – there's not much more to say.
“We were all on the same pace during the race, I think I was a bit quicker than Mark for two or three laps, I was catching him and thought I could get him on the back straight. I was very close and passed him on the left, that's the story. This is something that happens, no one needs it, but there's not much you can do now.”
The number one rule of motor racing is not to crash into your teammate, and Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, was understandably frustrated that the team’s race was ruined in such a way.
“It's disappointing for the team to have got into that position today,” said Horner, who didn’t single out either driver for blame. “The one thing I always ask the drivers is that, yes, they can race each other, but give each other room, and that's exactly what didn't happen. They were too far over on the left, Sebastian got a run on the inside of Mark, but then came across too early. They didn't give each other room; it's as simple as that.
“It was a massively close race between us and the McLarens up until that point. We managed to get ourselves ahead with a better pit-stop and a better strategy for Sebastian and were first and second.
“Sebastian was a bit happier on the prime tyre than Mark and was looking quicker at that point in the race. He got a run on Mark up the inside and we saw what happened. It's massively disappointing and the situation shouldn't have occurred.
“To give McLaren 28 points on a plate is very frustrating for everyone in the team – especially after so much hard work. We've lost a lot of points today with what's happened. We need to learn from it, so we don't find ourselves in this position again.”