The rivalry between Vettel and Webber
25 March 2013 – Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber’s already strained relationship was tested to the limit at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with the reigning World Champion ignoring team orders to claim victory at the expense of his team-mate. To provide a summary of their fierce rivalry, GPUpdate.net has put together a timeline of major events.
Japanese Grand Prix, 2007
"It’s kids isn’t it? Kids with not enough experience doing a good job and then they f**k it all up," were Webber’s colourful words moments after Toro Rosso newcomer Vettel ended his race at the Fuji Speedway almost five and a half years ago. This marked the true beginning of their on-track disputes and, although the incident was promptly brushed under the table, it served as an ominous warning for the times ahead.
Chinese Grand Prix, 2009
There were no clashes or controversies at the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix, but things were getting serious at Red Bull. Vettel claimed the Milton Keynes-based team's maiden Formula 1 victory in only his third race since stepping up from Toro Rosso, with Webber having to settle for the runner-up spot. This will have hurt the Australian, who had played a significant role in guiding the outfit towards the front of the field.
Turkish Grand Prix, 2010
Formula 1's visit to Istanbul Park in 2010 was a key turning point for Vettel and Webber. The pent-up frustrations and niggling traits of the pair came to blows when they collided during a battle for the lead on Lap 39, leaving Vettel out on the spot and Webber with front wing damage. Adding insult to injury, McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button later enjoyed a clean lead fight en route to a 1-2 finish.
British Grand Prix, 2010
Both Red Bull drivers were running new front wings for the British Grand Prix, but Vettel's suffered a structural failure in final practice. As he was ahead in the championship standings, the team opted to take the new-spec wing from Webber's car and hand it to the German. However, his subsequent pole position was undone when he picked up a puncture on the opening lap and Webber stormed to victory. "Not bad for a number two driver," was the winning phrase.
British Grand Prix, 2011
Having claimed pole position, Webber was eager to make it two from two at Silverstone in 2011. Despite losing out to Vettel on a wet track at the start, he had the pace to close back in when the conditions improved and applied pressure in the closing stages. A battle for second place ensued, with Webber ignoring repeated calls to 'maintain the gap'. He ultimately finished third, but admitted to ignoring team orders and increased the tension between the pair.
Brazilian Grand Prix, 2012
With a third world title on the line, the last thing Vettel needed was a series of on-track battles at the 2012 finale in Brazil. But that's exactly what he was forced to contend with after being tapped into a spin by Bruno Senna. In a surprise turn of events, Webber was one of the drivers to put up a fight and went wheel-to-wheel with his team-mate. Vettel ultimately finished further down the order, but picked up the crown.
Malaysian Grand Prix, 2013
"Multi 21" is a phrase that will forever be linked with the Malaysian Grand Prix. Having been 'completely reassured' of victory as the fourth and final pit-stop phase passed, Webber believed he was in for a clear run to the chequered flag. But Vettel had other ideas and set about challenging for the win, eventually squeezing through along the pit-straight on Lap 45. This broke a pre-race pact and left Webber furious, signalling an all-time low during their spell as team-mates.
Now the question is: where will the pair's ever-growing rivalry take them next?