“I didn’t do it deliberately” claims Vettel

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

After passing his teammate against the wishes of Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel has apologized to Mark Webber following the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“I did make a big mistake today,” said Vettel after the race.

“We should have stayed in the positions we were in. I didn’t ignore it [the order to hold position] on purpose but I messed up the situation.

“It doesn’t help his feelings right now. Apologies to Mark and now the result is there, but all I can say is that I didn’t do it deliberately.”

Vettel had trailed Webber since the first round of stops in Malaysia, but he closed on his teammate after the final pit stops towards the end of the race. Despite the team telling him to back off, the German driver took the lead from his teammate and then set off into the distance.

The tension between the two drivers was evident on the podium, and in the ‘cool down’ room after the race, Webber was seen shouting “multi 21” at Vettel, believed to be the code used by Red Bull when they want to hold position.

As well as apologizing to Webber, Vettel also admitted that he put the 1-2 finish for the team at risk.

“I took quite a lot of risk to pass him and I should have behaved better.”

Webber made his disappointment clear at the end of the race, and Red Bull will be keen on repairing their drivers’ relationship during the three week break before the Chinese Grand Prix. However, playing ‘happy families’ is the last thing on Webber’s mind, who is keen on returning to his native Australia during the break.

“It is three weeks to the next race so we are fortunate,” said Webber. “I will catch some waves in Australia.”

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.