Vettel denies favoritism charges, blame for Turkish crash

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On the day that Mark Webber has signed a year extension with Red Bull Racing, his team mate is the focus of a BBC story in which Sebastian Vettel absolutely denies that either driver is favored by the team.

He also will not take the blame for the pair’s coming together at Turkey.

“What we have been discussing internally is neither driver is favoured in any way.

“We go out and try to find out who is the better one, like it should be.”

Be that as it may, the following stuff from the BBC is pretty interesting. You can chalk some of it up to media bias — against Red Bull, maybe, as the BBC is British, but I’d argue more likely bias toward a nice, conflict-filled story — but I think it’s also clear that as we head into the build-up for the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull still is trying to manage the story.

Vettel’s remarks came in an exclusive interview with BBC Sport as Red Bull try to manage the fall-out from the crash while their drivers were disputing the lead at Istanbul Park.

In the interview, Vettel insisted he had done nothing wrong, despite many former F1 drivers – including BBC analysts Martin Brundle and David Coulthard saying the German caused the crash by turning towards his team-mate while still alongside.

“It all happened fairly quick,” Vettel said.

“I got a very good run out of corner leading on to back straight, got a good tow. Then I was going on the inside.

“I had already passed Mark and then tried to come slowly back to the right.

“At that time I was the leading car and then usually the leader dictates when to go. We made contact and that was the end of the race for me.”

I also don’t know about the following, which is his explanation for his gesture as he walked away from his car.

Asked why he had given the ‘crazy sign’ to Webber – circling his finger at his forehead – after the incident, Vettel said: “I think it was pretty clear at the time. I don’t think it was a crazy sign. I think it’s very common. I think everyone understood.”

Vettel denied either driver had been given any instructions from the team and he added he would do nothing differently if the two men were in the same situation again.

“It’s always the question – you never know what is going to happen,” he said.

“You do at the time what you think is right, and in that case you would do it again because you thought it was right. No matter how is the outcome, you will always learn something.”

“I don’t think it was a crazy sign. I think it’s very common.”

Sorry, Der Seb, but half of that statement is right. The latter half. (Imagine my now making the crazy sign at Vettel.) He was calling Mark crazy, which is understandable in the heat of the moment and the aftermath of a crash. But don’t say later you weren’t. Say you were upset or at least that the situation that had just happened was “crazy” and was what you were referring to with the gesture.

But don’t patronize us with something that only comes across as, well, a flat-out lie.

Eyes are going to be so heavily on this team this weekend. There will be an absolute ton of pressure, and I think you have to give Webber the nod as to who will handle it better. He’s older, more mature and has been in F1 — obviously — a lot longer.

Perhaps more importantly is how Christian Horner will handle the pressure.

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