Mark Webber has been slammed by furious Red Bull officials for ignoring
team orders, demanding he stay behind teammate Sebastian Vettel in the
British Grand Prix.
Webber attacked Vettel several times in the
closing laps of the race at Silverstone – won by Ferrari's Fernando
Alonso – despite being told to back off.
He later strongly defended his actions, saying that had Alonso retired, he and Vettel would have been fighting for victory.
defending British champion was unrepentant and was reprimanded by team
boss Christian Horner, who said he was "surprised" at the Australian's
"I'm surprised at what he did, so it's something he and I will talk about in private," Horner said.
"At the end of the day, the team is the biggest thing. No individual is bigger than the team.
"I can understand Mark's frustration in that, but had it been the other way round, it would have been exactly the same.
a team point of view, there was a big haul of points on the table and
it made absolutely no sense to risk seeing both cars in the fence and
coming back on a tow truck."
Horner said he was forced to order Webber to remain behind second-placed Vettel after he had ignored earlier requests.
engineer asked him to maintain the gap a lap or two before my
intervention. It was pretty clear Mark had chosen to ignore that,"
"There comes a point in a race where it would be
absolute stupidity to allow them to jeopardise it. We'd have looked
pretty stupid if they'd crashed."
Webber maintains his action was justified.
"Of course I ignored the team as I want to try and get another place," Webber said.
"Of course they (the team) want the points, but I also need to try and get some more as well."
Webber said the order had not gone down well and he was sure he could have passed Vettel without taking either car out.
am not fine with it," he said. "No…If Fernando retires in the last
lap we are battling for the victory so I was fine until the end.
don't want to crash with anyone, but that was it. I tried to do my best
with the amount of conversation I had – one-way conversation,
obviously, as I wasn't talking back too much."
Webber started from pole position but was led into the first turn by Vettel, who had better traction.
German was headed for his seventh win of the season before a lengthy
pitstop due to a locked wheel nut which allowed Alonso to exit the pits
ahead of the world champion.
While Alonso opened up a gap which he held until the end, Webber closed fast on Vettel in the final two laps.
He refused to pull back but eventually conceded second and finished third by a fraction of a second.
the tension between Webber and the team, Horner said the Australian
would continue to receive equal treatment for the rest of the season and
will be allowed to race Vettel within reason.
"He is free to fight for race wins," Horner said.
"He qualified on pole position here. He had the ability, the opportunity to win this race.
"It didn't pan out for him today but we will continue to give him every chance to do so."
Horner said that ultimately, the team championship is as important as the drivers' championship to Red Bull.
"And we risked giving away 33 points today in the last three laps by allowing our drivers to fight it out.
"As we have seen previously, that can have dire consequences," he said.