Accepting that Red Bull
was never going to 'sit back and wait for them to crash away a one-two finish', Brundle questioned why the team hadn't asked Vettel to drop back behind Webber, only to have team principal Christian Horner explain that as 'we had asked him to hold position and maintain a gap for three laps before he overtook, there was little point in asking him to reverse the move'.
David Coulthard, meanwhile, agreed that Webber had earned the right to win the Malaysian race, having made the right call to stop and change from Pirelli's intermediate tyre to a first set of slicks two laps later than Vettel – a move that gave him a lead he would not cede until Vettel passed him against orders. According to the Red Bull
insider, the drivers were apparently told they could race until the last round of stops and would then have to hold position. Webber emerged fractionally ahead of Vettel as he left pit-lane and held onto the lead despite a concerted effort from the German to wrest it off him. It was two laps later that Vettel forced himself between the Australian and the pit-wall, forcing them to run side-by-side until turn four, where he finally completed his move.
Like Brundle, however, Coulthard could not see any punishment being meted out to Vettel, and expected the tension between the two Red Bull
drivers to remain.
“If this was a poll of public opinion, you'd probably say Vettel has gone down a few points and Webber has gone up a few, but this is not a popularity contest,” he wrote in his BBC
column, “This is not the first time that team-mates have fought over the same piece of turf, and it will not be the last. It will blow over like these things do - but there is no doubt that the next time Vettel and Webber go wheel-to-wheel we will all be holding our breath.”
Damon Hill also weighed in on the debate, suggesting that Vettel knew exactly what he was doing, instructions from the pit-wall notwithstanding, and figured that points in the bank more than out-weighed public criticism.
"I think Sebastian has taken the view that 'possession is nine tenths of the law, and we'll argue about it later',” the 1996 world champion commented, “There was clearly an understanding that they were on the edge with tyres, so the team had to think about how hard they were going to push - but Sebastian wasn't playing to that card. He's said sorry, but what is that really worth?”
John Watson, meanwhile, has called for Red Bull
too suspend Vettel in a bid to re-establish just who calls the shots at Red Bull
[ see separate story