Webber Chides Ex-Red Bull F1 Teammate Vettel for Playing ‘Guinea Pig’ at Turkish GP

Published 10/14/2021, 8:55 AM EDT
MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) Third placed Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing, first placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Scuderia Toro Rosso and second placed Heikki Kovalainen of Finland and McLaren Mercedes celebrate in parc ferme following qualifying for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


In F1, no one knows a driver more than their teammate. Therefore, when Mark Webber saw his erstwhile Red Bull teammate’s fallacy at the Turkish GP, he was surprised. Sebastian Vettel switched to slicks on the wet tracks, a move no one saw coming. Soon, the German realized the mistake and had to pit again.

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The Australian sat with the F1 Nation Podcast. In discussing Vettel’s mistake, Webber said, “It was actually unlike him.”

After driving with the champion for five years, Webber explained Vettel’s usual approach to a race.

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“He was never really the first one to pull the trigger when he’d come to doing it. Normally he’ll seek clarification from the pit wall in terms of someone else playing the guinea pig and having a go.”

Webber went on to joke that at the race Vettel proved to be a rhinoceros rather than a guinea pig. The Aussie also mentioned that maybe the probable one-point loss wouldn’t have affected Vettel.

“Sebastian, two or four points; whatever. The team would care about that but Sebastian’s like if this does work…”

However, Webber claimed it wouldn’t have worked for the German. Even if the Aston Martin was quick on the slicks, the already narrow racing line would’ve been driven to the wet parts of the track- overall, a hopeless endeavor for Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel explains Turkey oversight

In the hustle and bustle of the strategies played out at the Turkish GP, Vettel’s stood out. While other teams calculated pit stop strategies, Vettel left the pit lane with slicks. It was an odd sight at the wet Intercity Park.

While we heard the conversation about the switch in other teams’ radios, Vettel was the first to jump at the opportunity. However, having been unable to get his tires up to temperature, he spun off the slippery tracks.

“As soon as I left the pits, I knew it was the wrong decision. There was no grip and I could not make them work… I was really surprised how slowly the track improved and it was similar to last year because it just did not dry out.”

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Vettel finished the race 18th; a disappointing result for the four-time champion.

I’m obviously disappointed, having made the wrong call. It was tempting to try, but just the wrong decision. So we lost, I think, the [chance] for points, maybe one or two–and in the end, we didn’t get any.”

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Being the revived Aston Martin’s star player, the mistake would have weighed heavily on the team. However, as the team builds itself and gets ready for the next season, surely Vettel will ensure that such mistakes are minimized for the team.

Watch this story: Verstappen the Big Winner as Hamilton Loses Out at Turkish F1 Grand Prix

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Shreya Sanjeev

439 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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