Vettel skips Webber farewell party

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Perhaps some folks are not big fans of Sebastian Vettel and we discussed that here. The booing after the Italian GP was tangible. Some fans suggested that Seb isn’t as highly regarded by his peers as we are told and if Germany’s Bild is correct, maybe that has to do with his strained relationship with outgoing teammate Mark Webber.

As Webber celebrated his final Italian Grand Prix at Monza, there was a party in which lots of drivers attended…except Vettel. Bild says that Ross Brawn, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sir Frank Williams all attended but Seb sat a floor below the festivities on his iPhone.

Now, one can understand why that might be. The two haven’t been best of friends and that’s not just since Malaysia and Multi 21. While many point to Multi 21 as a singular reason that booing should be offered for a Vettel win, it is odd that in 2010, fans were outraged with “Fernando is faster than you” and were asking for Ferrari’s head on a platter for using team orders and berated Felipe Massa for obeying them. My how winning changes things.

Sure, team orders are not banned these days but the change in attitude toward them certainly has. Once the arguable bane of F1, team orders have now become the manifest and any driver not following them is the bane of F1? I’m confused. Lewis didn’t follow them in 2007 and that was “the right call” and showed some grit and dogged determination to win and prompted the debacle with teammate Fernando Alonso. Remember?

One thing I will find interesting is if fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo will enter 2014 with any preconceived notions or lingering residue about Vettel. The Toro Rosso driver said he prefers to make up his own mind on the matter and for the long-term aspect of his career and the harmony at Red Bull, that’s probably best.

A lot has been made about the team being behind Vettel and I do understand that notion. After one world championship, you could understand the team being happy but equally focused on both drivers. After two championships you get the sense that the team knows who is the most likely to bring the results and after three titles, I’m thinking the team is clearly his. Is that human nature or just wrong? No doubt that when Vettel entered the team he was not calling all the shots as Webber had his feet on the desk so Vettel has done what Senna did to Prost…who laid claim to the team by winning. For good or bad, cheer or jeer.

As NBC Sports F1 broadcaster David Hobbs said, “if I’m Vettel, I’d take all the booing I could get”. Missing Webber’s party probably didn’t upset Seb’s evening nor would it hurt Webber in the slightest. If I know Mark, he probably preferred it that way.


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