Sebastian Vettel has explained that his relationship with Mark Webber has been misinterpreted, claiming that the negativity and tension that has been reported does not paint a fair picture of their five years together at Red Bull.
Strains first appeared on the pair’s relationship during the 2010 season as they both fought for the drivers’ championship down to the wire, with a collision together in Turkey, and a decision by the team to hand Vettel a front wing originally allocated for Webber at the British Grand Prix muddying the relationship between the two, with Webber believing that he was, in his own words the team’s “number two driver.”
The personal relationship between Vettel and Webber finally boiled over this year after the German disregarded team orders to pass the Australian for the lead late in the Malaysian Grand Prix, a decision that while controversial, Vettel later stood by.
However, the four times champion has explained that these moments have not characterised the duo’s time together at Red Bull, insisting that he and Webber have always had a sound professional working relationship.
“Generally people have a worse impression than the relationship that we have,” said the 26-year-old, ahead of his team-mate’s final Grand Prix.
“People tend to forget how successful we have been. We’ve been one of the strongest pairings in Formula 1.
“Obviously we didn’t have the best relationship on a personal level, but in terms of working professionally together for the team, we have been very strong.
“Both of us have tried very hard to improve the car. The fact that he will not be around next year will surely be a loss for the team and a loss for myself.
“I’ve learned a lot from him,” added Vettel. “I can stand up straight and say that there were many times and places where I benefited from him.
“You could obviously say the same thing the other way around but I think – as I said – we’ve been extremely successful together and in that regard for sure it will be a hit for the team. But equally it is a new season, a new step next year anyway and with Daniel coming in a new time starts as well.”
Vettel also rubbished reports that he would gift Webber a final victory if the situation presented itself in Brazil, stating: “Mark is a sportsman and he doesn’t want a win handed over to him.”
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