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We want you to be fierce and selfish, but a team too.

Aussie Mark Webber was well within his rights to be outraged at Sebastian Vettel, his Red Bull teammate, for ignoring their boss’s orders and snatching the Malaysian Grand Prix from him.

On the other hand, to expect a fiercely competitive racer like Vettel to take second when first is an option is a laugh.Formula One is a kooky beast.

On one hand a team expects its drivers to risk life and limb, and push every boundary our L-plate instructors advise us against. On the other, they want to win the constructors’ (team) championship.

So if you have place one and two wrapped up, and the guy in second is leading the world championship, and the guy in first deserved to be there, no point in risking two cars that form a large part of the company’s annual F1 investment, a small fraction of which goes to drivers, of about £460m? Right? 

I guess, but there’s very good reason Vettel’s going for his fourth consecutive drivers’ championship – he likes winning and probably hates losing more. And for him, losing is second. It’s a rough rub for Webber, well-respected and talented, but not in Vettel’s league.

If (or when, barring major injury) he wins it this year, that’s four in a row. He’d join Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-57) in the record books.

One more and he equals Michael Schumacher’s best run (2000-04). Vettel, just 25, has every chance to re-write the record books.

And even though Red Bull are bankrolling this history boy, you have to wonder what right they have to pull the reins on him doing what he does best – winning.

The only thing Vettel did wrong in the whole saga, not a new one for the sport, was say he didn’t realise he’d been ordered to coast behind Webber and take the one-two, in that order. That’s just plain silly.

He apologised afterwards, but that’s worth nix when 25 points has been awarded. Webber came out of it as the vexed one, but he knows the score.

In third after two races, he’ll likely be part of the champion team for the fourth year running. But he and Vettel aren’t really ‘a team’, they just have the same colour stickers.

» Agree or disagree? Should Vettel have stayed in second? letters@tntmagazine.com

 


Michael Clarke

Aussies take cold comfort in NZ slip

Before the England winter (Aussie summer) there was the prospect of 10 Ashes Tests being fought between the world’s number one and two nations.

Mathematically, had Australia beaten South Africa they could have leap-frogged to number one, with England going to two with any positive result in India.

Despite going on to beat Sri Lanka, Australia ultimately lost the deciding game in Perth against the Saffas. An opportunity lost.England delivered with a historic series win on the subcontinent.

But last week, they were saved only by Matt Prior and Monty Panesar keeping their wickets in tact to prevent their side from losing a Test series in New Zealand (they’re ranked eighth) – a 10th Kiwi wicket would have made them third.

This was little comfort for the Aussies, flogged 4-0 in India – fourth in the world is rock bottom. But it showed frailty in England.

Now there’s a bit of time – is it enough for Michael Clarke to be fit?

 

Photos: Getty


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Sport opinion: Sebastian Vettel ignores F1 driver double standard to bypass Mark Webber, was he right to do so?
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