Not for the first time this season, it has emerged that Red Bull Racing team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber sat down to clear the air in the wake of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 2010 finale last weekend – but this time, rather than being artificially reconciled by their team, the olive branch was extended by the Australian entirely of his own volition.
The pair's relationship this year has not always been the easiest, with flashpoints such as their controversial collision in Istanbul, the now infamous Silverstone front wing controversy and comments made by both men pre-Brazil – with Webber suggesting his impressive form in 2010 has been 'inconvenient' for Red Bull's preference to see Vettel triumph, and the German hitting back by declaring that should his team-mate require help, then he would be best-advised to 'take the medical car' [see separate story – click here
] – meaning that at times over the course of the campaign, team principal Christian Horner has had a fractious atmosphere to manage indeed.
However, after conceding defeat in his own title bid at Yas Marina, Webber has revealed that he subsequently put his disappointment to one side and went to seek out new F1 World Champion Vettel – the sport's youngest-ever title-winner – to 'talk about things like men'.
“After I heard Sebastian come back into the motorhome area in Abu Dhabi, I went into the room and I wanted to make sure that he was on his own so both of us could have a chat,” the 34-year-old explained. “We spoke about many things from the whole season.
“I think as a competitor, what's important is to give everything that you can, but at the end of the year I think you still have to be able to give credit where it's due and for both of us to be able to talk about things like men and get on with it. That's how it should be, and I want to congratulate Sebastian on the drivers' world championship – what he did this year in the cockpit was incredible.”
Webber, of course, indirectly played a key role in ensuring Vettel clinched the crown, with Ferrari misguidedly jumping to react to his early pit-stop in the UAE with one of their own for Fernando Alonso – a strategy that wound up costing the Spaniard dear. Notwithstanding his understandable frustrations at personally missing out at the last, the six-time grand prix-winner reflected that what Red Bull has achieved in 2010 is 'absolutely incredible' and truly 'unique'.
“I think it was pretty clear that [Ferrari] reacted to what we tried to do, which was something that ultimately might have made things a little bit easier [for Vettel],” Webber mused of the way the race panned out in Abu Dhabi. “Obviously, on the lap that I pitted Ferrari were fourth and fifth, which at that stage for them was not a bad position – but I was trying to jump Fernando, pushing very, very hard to get ahead of him, and in the end Ferrari reacted with both [Felipe] Massa and Alonso. That didn't work out at all and it wrecked their race completely, so maybe I played a small role.
“In the end, though, we do it all together as a team and it was an incredible season, I think, for all of us. We had so many fantastic battles throughout the year. I think we had a clear goal back at the start of the season to achieve some very, very special things – and [to win] both championships in F1 is something incredibly unique and something we should never take for granted. With the team of guys that we have here and the vision from Austria, we've managed to take Ferrari and McLaren on, which is an absolutely incredible achievement.”