Apr.2 (PVM) Red Bull boss Christian Horner has come out in defence of Sebastian Vettel after the world champion’s incident packed, high profile afternoon at Sepang, during the rain affected Malaysian Grand Prix.
Vettel lost out on fourth place after he suffered a puncture late in the race when he was tapped from the back by Narain Karthikeyan’s errant HRT. Vettel’s frustrations were compounded by a faulty radio which all but eliminated communication with his engineer Guillaume Rocquelin.
Horner explained to Sky Sports, “These guys get a microphone shoved in front of him just after he’s effectively lost a fourth-place position and of course he was annoyed, he vented his frustration. But it’s one of those things. I think that any driver in that situation would be totally annoyed with the situation.”
“Obviously the stewards deemed that Narain was in the wrong and dealt with it accordingly. But I don’t think anybody could blame Sebastian for being a bit frustrated in that situation.”
“He was driving very well, he was closing in on Lewis, and of course he was wanting to finish the race in a positive manner and there were a lot of points on offer there.”
Vettel also appeared to defy team instructions, with a handful of laps remaining in the race, when he was told to retire the car by Rocquelin who was heard on the radio ordering: “stop the car, emergency, stop the car now, emergency.”
Horner shed light on the incident, “Basically what the sequence of events was, that after the impact with Karthikeyan the tyre delaminating damaged the left-rear braking cooling duct and that brake and corner of the car started going to a thermal runaway.”
“So from a safety point of view we were genuinely concerned that there could be a catastrophic failure which could throw him into a nasty spin or accident. So at that point we were saying he should stop the car. Sebastian was managing the situation pretty well, he was aware of what was going on, he could feel that the brake pedal was going long from what he said to us after the race.”
“And of course then Maldonado retires and you’ve got one lap to go and so you think okay well let’s stay out, see if something else happens and then there’s a potential point on offer here. But then the temperatures continue to increase and that was when we said come on, okay, right let’s see if we can get him to stop the car because we just don’t want to take any risk with his safety.”
“But those messages unfortunately didn’t get through to the car. Sebastian, as it turned out, didn’t really use the brakes at all on that last lap and was keen to see the chequered flag,” said Horner.
Vettel finished 11th in Malaysia, only the second time in 23 races that he has been out of the points.