The big victim of the Multi-21 team orders affair and subsequent aftermath has been Sebastian Vettel’s nice guy, funny guy image.
Previously the British humour-cracking and Beatles-loving ‘Mr Nice Guy’, the triple world champion’s reputation has come crashing down after ignoring team orders in Malaysia and then declaring Mark Webber didn’t “deserve” to be left in the lead.
“He (Vettel) seems like an easy-going character,” Jenson Button said in China on Thursday. “It’s surprising for him to say that.”
John Watson, a former McLaren driver, said he was also surprised by Vettel’s furrowed-brow outbursts on Thursday.
“He apologised profusely in Malaysia and now he’s gone back on it,” he told the Telegraph. “It’s as though Bambi has turned into a werewolf.”
Some Formula 1 purists are fond of ruthless, win-at-all-costs greats, but Watson said Vettel’s nastiness has been unseemly.
“I’ve tried to lead my life with certain values in place and the way Vettel has behaved makes me think ‘I don’t like you’,” the Briton admitted.
Similarly, Fernando Alonso has never shied away from a fight and is regarded as perhaps Formula 1’s toughest character, but he insists that even ruthlessness has its limits.
“Casillas is employed by Real Madrid to keep the goals,” he told Spanish reporters in China. “He can’t just play striker if he wants to.”
Former driver and German-language commentator Marc Surer said the Vettel saga is simply an illustration that nice guys don’t win.
“It’s unfortunate that a nice driver cannot be world champion,” he is quoted by SID news agency. “The only exception is Jenson Button.
“Otherwise, all of them have such strong egos, pursuing their goals without regard for others.” (GMM)