Christian Horner has stressed that Sebastian Vettel needs to better control his emotions after again sporting 'his heart on his sleeve' during last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix – as the Red Bull Racing team principal insisted positivity will be key to the remainder of the F1 2010 World Championship campaign.
Having set pole position – his seventh of the season, and fourth in swift succession – at the Hungaroring, Vettel was dominating the race until he was caught sleeping on the safety car re-start, allowing his team-mate Mark Webber to accelerate more than ten car-lengths ahead of him.
The young German's error resulted in a drive-through penalty, and a remainder of the afternoon spent frustrated in the slipstream of the slower Ferrari of double world champion Fernando Alonso around a circuit at which overtaking is notoriously difficult.
The 23-year-old would stay there all the way to the chequered flag, notching up just 15 points for third place when he palpably felt he should have scored 25 for victory – and making his displeasure known both during the race by clenching his fists as he drove down the pit-lane to serve his penalty, and again afterwards when he remonstrated with the FIA's respected deputy race director Herbie Blash.
Vettel has been repeatedly stymied by technical and mechanical issues in F1 2010 – hence tallying only two wins despite his peerless qualifying form – and radio issues in Budapest scarcely aided his cause, but Horner has admitted that the 'black cloud' that has dogged the Heppenheim native's progress this year cannot be held fully accountable for the latest failure to convert dominant pace into the top step of the podium, and that this time the driver must accept his fair share of the blame too.
“Part of the emotion is what makes him so strong, and he obviously has to channel that into the car,” the Englishman reasoned, with memories of Vettel's Istanbul histrionics and post-Silverstone sulk still fresh in people's minds. “He wears his heart on his sleeve, and you could see he was desperately disappointed to have lost a certain victory. Unfortunately, it didn't go his way, but he's had this black cloud following him for most of the year – although it would be premature to blame the radio for this one.
“We have to consider ourselves very fortunate we've two very committed, very charged drivers, and that's one of the strengths of this team. Unfortunately, Seb got a penalty; when he looks at it he will see why, and it will be very difficult to argue against that – but it's all about the points at the end of the year. We've Mark leading, Seb right up behind Lewis [Hamilton], and the target is to get both ahead and to try and stretch our lead in the constructors' [championship].”
Indeed, with a mere 20 points blanketing the top five contenders at present – less than the reward for a race victory – and 175 left to play for over the final seven grands prix, Horner insists RBR can enter the mid-summer break with its head held high, but he underlines that in order to remain in the hunt right the way to the end, Vettel needs to rein in his emotions and put past disappointments behind him.
“We have to get him thinking positively, because he was obviously frustrated after the race,” stated the 36-year-old, a former racer himself. “It's all part of a learning curve. There are seven races to go, he's scored a lot of points compared to some of his rivals in this race, and it was a great team result [in Hungary]. First and third has given us great points going into the summer break.”