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Vettel backtracks, admits he ignored team orders

24 March 2013

In another twist to the controversy in Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel has now conceded that he did get the call from the team to stay behind team-mate Mark Webber, but that he opted to ignore it.

Vettel apologised to Webber after the race, but in an interview with Sky Sports F1 alluded to the fact that he wasn't aware that they had been instructed to hold station following the fourth and final round of stops.

"I messed up today, I apologise for that but right now I want to say the truth. I wasn't aware of it [the team orders] otherwise I wouldn't take that much risk to pass someone I'm not supposed to pass at that moment,” he said.

“But obviously just before we got out on the podium, I had a very quick word and it was quite a shock [to find out about the team orders]. It's not easy for me to admit but that's the truth so I want to stick to the truth.”

However, in the official post-event release issued by Red Bull Racing, the three-time F1 world champion had a change of heart and has now held his hands up and admitted he did know he wasn't meant to pass the sister car.

“I got the call and I ignored it. Mark and I are used to fighting each other when we're close, but with the tyres how they are now, and not knowing how long they will last, it was an extremely big risk to ignore the call to stay second. We could have ended up finishing eighth or ninth after destroying the tyres in those two laps; I put myself above a team decision, which was wrong. I didn't mean to and I apologise,” he said.

“I'm not happy I've won, I made a mistake and if I could undo it I would. It's not easy right now and I owe apologies to Mark and the team.”

“I would love to come up with a nice excuse as to why I did it, but I can't,” he added. “I can understand Mark's frustration and the team not being happy with what I did today.

"I owe an explanation to him and the whole team. I will try to explain to them later. We talk about this situation happening many times and what we will do if and when it happens and normally it doesn't, but today it did and I should have translated the call into action.”


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