Jenson Button says Sebastian Vettel’s decision to ignore Red Bull’s team orders in Malaysia will come back to haunt him.
“I think that will hurt him in the long run,” said Button. “I am surprised he did that.”
Button said Red Bull’s instructions had helped Vettel in the past so it was wrong of him to disobey them on this occasion.
“I find team orders difficult but to disregard a team order is something different,” he explained. “At the start of the race, they knew they had team orders. That’s the bigger issue.”
“I am not a fan of giving a driver preferential treatment but the issue here is that Vettel did not want team orders.”
He added it was unlikely Vettel would return the favor to his team mate any time soon: “How is he going to give that win back to Mark? I cannot imagine him leading the race and going to Mark and say ‘here you go’. That’s very difficult and I could not do that.”
Button said he had experienced a similar situation with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren during the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix – ironically, after both Red Bull drivers had collided while leading.
“[Hamilton] was told to turn his engine down but I didn’t know. Lewis thought they had told me, so then I overtook him and then Lewis overtook me.”
“As soon as we got out of the car we discussed it and when I said that I wasn’t told anything, it was all fine.”
More on the fall-out from the Malaysian Grand Prix
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.