Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013

Hamilton: ‘Red Bull have a number one, we don’t’

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Helmut Marko’s claim that Mercedes operate a system of distinct number one and number two drivers.

“We don’t have a one and two at Mercedes,” said Hamilton. “I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that I wanted equality.”

“They didn’t offer me to be favoured but I just wanted to make the point that I am not a driver that comes and requests that like a lot of other drivers do.”

Following the Malaysian Grand Prix Marko said the situation at Red Bull was “not like at Mercedes where it?s clear number one and number two, basically we treat the drivers the same”.

During the race Nico Rosberg was repeatedly told not to overtake Hamilton for third place. After the race Hamilton told his team on the radio it “definitely didn?t feel right for me”.

Hamilton added: “Red Bull have a clear one and two, they always have. And that is why they have always had the problems they have had.”

Red Bull said in a statement the fall-out from Sunday’s race is being handled internally:

“It?s worth noting that this is not an entirely new situation for us. At Infiniti Red Bull Racing, we have two drivers who both want to win races and championships and this has been the case since Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel started driving together in 2009.

“Together, the driver pairing of Mark and Sebastian has achieved 35 wins, 80 podiums, 13 one-two finishes and six FIA Formula One world championships. This successful period includes some spells of intense on-track rivalry between our drivers.

“Each incident has been managed in our own way behind closed doors and this will be no different.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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160 comments on “Hamilton: ‘Red Bull have a number one, we don’t’”

  1. Oh Lewis, who are you trying to kid?

    1. Call me nieve, but it looks pretty obvious even from the outside that lewis is the type of personality/character that wants genuine results. As an example, look at the likes of Spa 2008 when he gave Kimi the position back (off his own merit without being _told to_ ) after being blocked off at the apex, so that he could retake the position properly? How many drivers can you honestly name who would have done something like that? Thes like of Senna/Schumacher/Vettel and the other “greats” have all pulled disgusting/dishonest/unsporting moves, such as purposely crashing into your rivals to take them out, just to get the result – Hamilton dosnt get half the respect he deserves.

      1. he gave position back because he afraid of being penalized.

        Such move is not necessary if he didn’t cut the corner to begin with.

        if he felts ashamed with it in Mal gp, he should’ve let his faster teammate through. Not saying sorry on the podium LOL.

        1. “Such move is not necessary if he didn’t cut the corner to begin with.”

          He was fighting side by side, he ran out of track and had to use the run-off, you know, like Maldonado should have in Valencia?? He knew he’d have to give it back, so he did. Other drivers would wait to be told to give it back.

          “if he felts ashamed with it in Mal gp, he should’ve let his faster teammate through. Not saying sorry on the podium LOL.”

          I think it came out in the press yesterday that he asked if he could let him through but was told to just follow his orders.

          1. He was fighting side by side, he ran out of track and had to use the run-off, you know, like Maldonado should have in Valencia?? He knew he’d have to give it back, so he did. Other drivers would wait to be told to give it back.

            He gave it back because he could have a go the next corner. If he had waited, he would have lost the position. Smart thinking, but nothing to do with honesty. On top of that, it was illegal. Therefore he was rewarded a time penalty.

          2. @matthijs

            It wasn’t illegal, the FIA simply invented an expanded version of the rule after he deservedly won the race – one of the greatest wins of his career – Raikkonen finished by losing the car and binning it against the wall.

        2. Such move is not necessary if he didn’t cut the corner to begin with.

          Which he had to do to avoid contact as he couldn’t make his car magically disappear.

        3. “if he felts ashamed with it in Mal gp, he should’ve let his faster teammate through. Not saying sorry on the podium LOL.”

          To hold positions or not was not his choise and not for him to choose either. That call came from ross brawn and it is to ross decide in which order they finish – not lewis. Lewis can say sorry on the podium but the situation is probably not even his fault.

        4. Not sure if you know what team orders are or how they work, both drivers were ordered to hold position, both told by their boss to do something. Thus they do it, do you think (Candice) that they should be left to their own devices that their boss wont be mad or give some backlash to them? So it isn’t as simple as giving up a spot if he was told not to. Do you dislike Lewis I wonder…wouldn’t be surprised if you did.

      2. If you haven’t noticed by now, everything Hamilton says is to boost his public image. Unfortunately, many of the things he says and does contradicts the image he is trying to portray. This is just another example. Here, Hamilton is trying to say he has and will beat his teammate in an equal car. If he went to Red Bull and won, he would not have beaten his teammate fairly. H.A.M. for you.

      3. @N

        There is no doubt that Lewis is a great driver, one of the best of his generation.. but he is no better than Vettel or Alonso ( the most targeted drivers for being so called number 1 drivers at their respective teams) when it comes to honesty… Remember Australia 2009, he was disqualified for lying to stewards…

        1. Lewis was interviewed immediatly after he got out the car and his version of events to the media was correct and matched with what we saw and heard on TV, it was only when he got back with the team and then went to the enquiry that their story changed, why do you think that was? Hamiltons wrong doing that day was allowing his team to take control of that matter and just going along with their version of events. And it was evident in the press afterwards that Lewis was entirly ashamed of that.

          I think there is definatly somthing different about Lewis than his peers, and it isnt just racing skills.

          1. @N
            |”Hamiltons wrong doing that day was allowing his team to take |control of that matter and just going along with their version of |events.”

            That still is a lie.. is nt it?

            I know you are not gonna agree, so let’s agree to disagree with each other…

            By the way I love watching Hamilton drive , it’s just that I don’t agree with people who try to portray him as a saint..

          2. No i do agree, it is a lie, and no-one is a saint, but i do think there is a distinction to be made between the likes of Sennas actions in Suzuka, Schumachers in Jerez, Vettels actions in Malaysia, and Lewis’ in Aus.

            You can’t just lumber everyone who has some wrong-doing all into the same box. Each situation is different with its own sets of facts/intentions

            And then theres wether the drivers actually regretted what they did to get the result, did Senna/Schumacher/Vettel seem actually bothered by what they did?, even taking into account its severity? I dont think one bit. Did Lewis seem genuinly gutted about what had happend both in Aus and Malaysia? i would say yes. So back to my point, i think hes different than his peers, i think he only wants to win under proper circumstances, because at the end of the day when hes alone, only he knows wether he truly deserves his results/reputation.

    2. Oh Lewis, please keep your mouth shut for once. Then you just might get some great seasons and maybe win a WDC. When Hamilton went to Mercedes a lot of the pressure he’s been living with at McLaren for years disappeared. He should have kept it that way as he has struggled when the pressure was on in the past. Instead he’s running his mouth constantly and piling pressure onto himself again. Makes me wonder if this is Hamiltons own doing or a PR-stunt by his so called managers. All I know is that Lewis is going to be under a lot of pressure and will have a tough time handling it if Mercedes fail being competitive in developing the Mercedes this year. Expectations have been created by Hamilton and nobody else. Sometimes silence is gold..

      1. @OJ

        All I know is that Lewis is going to be under a lot of pressure and will have a tough time handling it if Mercedes fail being competitive in developing the Mercedes this year

        Really? And you know this how exactly? Formula One is no walk in the park for any driver, or any employee in any team for that matter.

  2. This is like a playground.

    “You have a number one driver policy!”

    “No, YOU have a number one driver policy”

    “Do not!”

    “Do too!”

    1. “Your face has a number one driver policy!”

      Your Mum has a number one driver policy!

      1. I would love them to stop fighting like this and directly refer to “your-mama” jokes instead.

        “Yo mama so ugly, the FIA allowed a modesty panel to be installed on her face next season.”

        Yo mama so fat, she couldn’t fit in Nigel Mansell’s second McLaren chassis.”

        1. “Yo mama so fat, Adrian Newey couldn’t make her aerodynamic!”

          1. “Yo mama so ugly, Red Bull built a fence around her during pre-season testing.”

            “Yo mama so fat, when she sat down once in Belgium, she created Eau Rouge.”

          2. “Yo mama so fat, that when she walked past my TV screen, I missed the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.”

        2. “Your Mama so stupid, she thought Forumla One was a type of shampoo!”

      2. “Yo mama so stupid, she thought Monaco was a biscuit.”

        “Yo mama so stupid, she thought chicane was French for KFC”

        “Yo mama so fat, she rents out her uterus as wind tunnel”

        1. “Yo Mama such a Ho, she knows EXACTLY what ‘multi 21’ Means!”

          …Too Far?


    2. Meanwhile, Jenson Button is off in a corner muttering “sure, you guys have number two drivers…but our entire car is a number two…”

      1. And Kimi Raikonnen is that weird kid at the side of the Playground who never smiles and slightly scares everyone.

        1. hahaha…..yes

          1. And Maldonado is the school bully.

          2. And Grosjean is the kid who lives out in the countryside and smells slightly of wee.

      2. Moot point. So far Jenson is finishing where he used to be, which suggests that the actual pace of 2013 McLaren is quite similar to sometimes in 2012.

      1. @bendana

        “Yo mama so fat, Adrian Newey couldn’t make her aerodynamic!”


    3. LMAO with these :D

  3. This is obviously the truth. Red Bull have shown over and over again that Webber is the #2 driver at that team. Good comeback by Lewis.

    1. Why wouldn’t he be. I think it’s fair time for RBR to just admit to it and get on with it.. He’s got 3 world titles for gods sakes. It’s not 2009 anymore where both drivers were on equal grounds.. Webber had his chance in 2010 and blew it.. since then he’s been consistently outperformed by Vettel and I think it’s only fair for Vettel to get that number one spot now. Horner should’ve discussed this with Webber before he signed the contract. If he’s unhappy, feel free to leave and try your luck elsewhere. Not like RBR will have trouble filling the seat.

    2. It’s not a good comeback when it’s contradicted by the evidence.

      Last weekend, Red Bull ordered Vettel to hold position behind Webber. This is evidence that they cared about getting both cars home more than they cared about Vettel’s points tally. This suggests that either

      (i) Red Bull do not have a #1 driver policy; or
      (ii) They do and the #1 is Webber.

      (on the other hand Mercedes’ orders tell us nothing conclusive as Hamilton was already in front.)

    3. I was contemplating this whole situation and I came up with something, let’s call it a possible outcome, however slim the chance… This might be exactly what Red Bull needed, for 4 years now there has been this long exhausting back and forth between the team and the world, the team and the drivers, and the drivers themselves, is there a N.1 ? isn’t there ? is one given the advantage over the other. and frankly it’s tedious. Mark has been outperformed by Seb for the last three years, so naturally Seb has become the go-to guy as he is the one who guarantees results, but the team maintains that both drivers get equal chance, and Malaysia proved it(with Mark being guaranteed victory after the final stop).
      Although, when Seb was attacking, the way he was warned suggested they tried not to “step on his toes” too much, which(at least to me) does not imply favoritism, but implies they don’t want to upset him, which is wrong, any and every driver must listen to what his team orders him to do, he owes it to the 400-700 people who are behind the scenes.
      So I think this might just solve the problem, the reaction Seb received after the race was clearly a huge shock for him, and probably was very humbling for him, which will do him some good, although he usually is a humble guy.
      As for Mark I think now he can stop talking about the protection and preferential treatment Seb gets.
      So who knows, this might be the last straw, that will make everyone sit down together, lay everything on the table and come out stronger than before.
      And it just might destroy the team :P
      I’ll just add what I think of how things went down on Sunday, Sebastian is my favorite driver, and I think he was in the wrong, but ONLY towards the team, After Mark’s history with team orders, I think he had this one coming .

  4. MB (@muralibhats)
    26th March 2013, 11:30

    These war of words, intended to diminish all the talks on team orders that were not executed in the right manner?

  5. I did have to laugh when Helmut made those comments post-race. Whether anyone does or doesn’t have a ‘number one driver’ policy, doesn’t really bother me. But, I’m more inclined to believe Hamilton on this than Helmut ‘Sebastian is the son I wish I’d had’ Marko.

    1. I must say I admired how quick he was able to point to another team “having it even worse” then themselves there!

      As for no. 1 status – inside Mercedes – time will tell us. But its clear that Webber has been no.2 all the way since mid 2009 because Vettel showed what he can do when given the right car.

      1. @bascb

        Lewis was very uncomfortable last Sunday and his words sounded honest. However, he might dislike it but I think in Ross Brawn’s head Mr. Hamilton is driver #1, time will tell whether it’s true or not, but if it looks like a duck…

        P.S.: David Coulthard was speculating that Ross Brawn and his peers felt that underfueled car was their fault and Hamilton should not pay for that, who knows.

        1. Yes, I can understand the feeling about the underfuelled car. But as pointed out by someone else, when they underfuelled Nico a couple of seasons back, they had no qualms in having Schumi pass him.

    2. So you see Red Bull give two teamorders today AGAINST Vettel, you see Red Bull getting ****** off at Vettel, and you conclude: wow, they must really like Vettel.


      1. That much is true, but Webber’s post-race “protection” comments can’t exactly just be ignored can they? That to me reveals much more than the Malaysia team orders.

        1. All it reveals for me is that he’s looking for excuses as to why his teammate has 3 world titles and he doesn’t. He can’t stomach the fact Vettel is better then him and it’s eating him up inside, so he’s playing the only card he’s got left..

          1. Well if Vettel is sooo much better, why did the team get Mark to slow down so he could pass? Surely his team mate could have just caught up and passed. Oh wait, he couldn’t. Was it a 5 second lead Mark pulled out?

          2. @roberto – You are right in a way.. He did mention that his reaction was not just because of what happened at the race, but many things were going in his mind in the last 13 or 15 laps..

          3. @roberto …sure, that’s what he is doing. Stick to making it simple and remove your tin foil hat. Webber thought they would both cruise home in position, it didn’t happen and like any human he got emotional about the situation. Vettel is protected. The facts show that 2009 and 2010 vettel wasn’t that much better than Webber, the 2011 and 2012 car were said to fit Seb better and if so that might explain the smash. If this car which is the evo of their RB7 and RB8 then we might see the same distance through the season.

          4. @ryanisjones

            He didn’t pull out anything. After the first pitstops Vettel closed the gap from 4+ seconds to under two seconds. In the third stint Vettel got on Webber’s gearbox and ushered the team to tell Webber to get a move on. In the fourth stint he overtook Hamilton AND closed in on Webber again. After the last pitstops Webber’s entire ‘lead’ was gone.

            Webber got into the leading position because of the team. The team told him to stay out because they realized they had made a mistake with Vettel’s pitstop. If Webber had been genuinely faster we wouldn’t be discussing in the first place.

            The facts show that 2009 and 2010 vettel wasn’t that much better than Webber

            Except that he was. If not for the rookie mistakes in 2009, Vettel would have been a 4 times World Champion now. In qualifying and pace Vettel had Webber covered from the word go.
            And more mistakes and about 70 points down the drain because of reliability issues still didn’t allow Webber to beat Vettel in 2010. Without the reliability issues Vettel would have made 2010 look like 2011.

            For 2009 Webber could use the excuse of his bike accident. For 2010 and 2011 he used the blown diffuser and tyres excuse. I can’t remember what excuses he used in 2012 but I’m betting he used one or two last year as well. And now its ‘Vettel is protected’… Sigh…

            He’s been beaten 5 years in a row and Vettel will most definitely beat him for a 6th year in a row. Now I don’t know about you but I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

          5. @F1fanNL

            He didn’t pull out anything. After the first pitstops Vettel closed the gap from 4+ seconds to under two seconds. In the third stint Vettel got on Webber’s gearbox and ushered the team to tell Webber to get a move on.

            Sorry mate, but I don’t know what race you’re talking about. Here is the link to the lap charts on this site. http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/03/24/2013-malaysian-grand-prix-lap-charts/

            Select Webber and Vettel only to see it clearer. Firstly Webber overtook Vettel on track before he pitted (Webber was faster). On the third stint where Vettel complains about Webber being slow, Webber then pulls away from Vettel – Webber’s fastest time in this stint is a 101.01, Vettels is 101.25 (Webber is faster). On lap 41 Vettel is 4.25 seconds behind Webber. He makes up all of his time on the in lap and out lap of his pit stop.

            I don’t care much about the past, but on this day, Vettel could not have won the race unless Webber had slowed down. Fact.

        2. The protection comment doesn’t tell us anything. Of course Vettel has protection within Red Bull. He’s won 3 WDC’s and 3 WCC’s for Red Bull. I don’t think any of us have any idea about what this has meant to Red Bull financially and in terms of image. There’s no way Red Bull is going to risk alienate Vettel. Before that happens they’ll rather throw Mark under a train. That’s just common business sense.

  6. It is very different at Ferrari, where when Alonso enters the garage, all the strategists, teams members, Stefano and Massa bow down before him and kiss his finger :-)

    1. Out of pure respect, not team orders.

      1. +1 xD

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          26th March 2013, 16:56

          not his fan, but +3

          by the way, That reminds me now we all (me included) are making a bit fuss about Red Bull team orders, when it is quite well accepted when talking about other teams.

    2. I’ve heard they kiss something else…

  7. For sure, Red Bull have a number one and his name is Fernando Alonso. Red Bull’s refusal to favour one of their own drivers over another has helped Alonso gain many extra points since the beginning of 2010, unfortunately he has failed to win a world championship during this time anyway.

      1. Should have known it – it’s so obvious in hindsight :P

      2. @Enigma @andae23 And now it’s Chapter 2, the Italian version :D

      3. Holy smokes it all falls into place now.

        1. @Girts
          Great thinking man!!!! you’ve inspired me to come up with this…
          Ferrari’s number one is Vettel.. because they never made a good enough car in the past few years so that Alonso can beat Vettel.. on top of that did the greatest strategy call in the history of F1 to pull off vettel’s first championship in abudhabi 2010… Wow Alonso is number 2 in Ferrari and Poor Massa is Number 3 :-)

  8. Bruce Buffer: “In the blue corner, RBR’s Helmut Marko!!…And in the red corner, Mercs Lewis Hamilton!!”.
    Both fighters glare at each other with a steeliness only Superman could match.
    Ham: “HELL YEAH!!”
    Helmut: ” I WAS BORN READY!!”
    Referee: “FIGHT!!!!”

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      26th March 2013, 15:40

      Montezemolo:I thought I was the one who was going to fight Helmut, what happened?

  9. ding ding ding ding ….round two :P

  10. What is the most important thing is to understand that Rosberg was always just No.2 driver in Mercedes team. Remember 2011 Belgium GP? Rosberg was told to save fuel just a few laps before the finish, still Schumacher was allowed to overtake Rosberg. Schumacher finished 5th and Rosberg was 6th. Besides, Mercedes didn’t protest the dirty trick from Schumacher – asking for the odd number (No.1 driver in each top team has an odd number on his car) that belonged to Rosberg for each of the 3 seasons. And each of these 3 times Schumacher was allowed “to rob” Rosberg. Shame!

    1. If all this is true, tell me why is Rosberg now in car number 9?

      1. Uh, because Schumi has retired, and the lower number generally goes to the driver who has been with the team longest. See McLaren 2013, Ferrari 2010, etc. When the team has an entirely new lineup, they usually go with who has been in F1 (or achieved the most) the longest (McLaren 2007). As for the rest of what Mareks said, yes, Schumi did ask for the lower number, but Rosberg agreed. Rosberg is not as superstitious as MS was about what number is painted on his car.

      2. I believe, it’s because Hamilton is not like Schumacher, who complained about his team mates for even the smallest detail. Remember 1995 season when Schumacher was scared of Herbert’s pace and Schumacher ran to Briatore to complain about Herbert. Herbert: “The trouble all started after I qualified fourth in the first race in Brazil. Then we went on to Argentina, where I was quicker than him in the first session. That night he told the team that he didn’t want me to see his data any more. The next morning he came over to me and said, ‘I’m sure you accept you’ll have secrets from me and I’ll have some from you so you’ll understand if I don’t show you my data in future’. But, of course, he still had access to all of my data. What could I do about it? Nothing. I had no say in the matter.” Hamilton is not whining like Schumacher.

    2. It was true that Rosberg started his stint at Mercedes as the #2 driver.. but after he took Schumi to school in the 2010 season, they were on equal footing 2011 onwards.

      To be honest, Brawn didn’t expect Schumacher to be so poor on his comeback.. so they probably felt like they lacked one outstanding driver (secret team #1 driver i guess). So in comes Lewis for 2013… and Ross probably looks at Lewis as the guy who can deliver the championship.

      But then again.. this all depends on how Lewis fares against Rosberg. If Nico starts beating Lewis.. it will be back to fair game between both their drivers.. but if Lewis beats Rosberg convincingly over the next 6-7 races.. I expect Lewis to become #1 . Ross brawn has always preferred hedging his bets on one driver instead of two.. but then again that driver has always been significantly better as well.

      Pure speculation I guess… but this is just my theory

  11. I was disgusted by Marko . I know that the move by merc was distasteful and despite being a hamilton fan my blood was boiling when Nico was coasting behind him , I can’t imagine how bad it was for Nico in the cockpit . But I find that some of the kindergarten kids have better maturity than Helmut who is waiting for taking a dig at someone . I don’t know how one can get along with his tantrums especially a team so successful as Red Bull . I think these teams need some guys who are eccentric to handle eccentric people and the media . Now , the better move by the mercedes camp woul be to deal with this eccentric guy by using their own eccentric guy , ala Lauda.

    1. I can’t believe all the effort and money Red Bull put into PR and Marketing, and then they let Marko speak to the press… Absolutely bonkers!

      Red Bull are in F1 to push their brand and whilst I appreciate that winning Championships is good for the Red Bull name, having the least popular driver on the grid and Helmut Marko making an idiot of himself every couple of months surely can’t be good!

      1. Go Mercedes! :-)

      2. Any successful driver is going to be unpopular. It’s just a fact of competition. Look at Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher, and there are plenty of others. Any driver good enough to score dominant wins is inevitably vilified while they’re successful.

        1. You could expand that to other sports aswell. Man U, Floyd Mayweather, Anderson Silva, GSP, Jon Jones, Venus and Serena Williams, Sebastien Loeb, Djokovic etc…

          1. Michael Jordan should be the exception to the rule.

        2. Never heard a bad word said about Jimmy Clark.

          1. That’s because he died prematurely. If Senna was still alive today, I’m not convince that people would admire him as much as they currently do. As with all that die young, people view the deceased’s life through rose tinted specs (Kurt Cobain, James Dean etc..).

            Prior to Senna’s death, people would’ve felt comfortable criticising and labelling him a dangerous and reckless driver that should’ve been thrown out of the sport after he purposefully crashed into Prost at Suzuka. After his death I guess people feel an obligation not to speak ill of him, even if he deserves the criticism.

            Maybe the same applies to Jim Clark, and nobody daren’t speak ill of him…For he who doth utter negative sentiments upon his memory, shall be DOOMED FOREVER!! MUHAHAHA!!!

        3. See it’s different though. Alonso has always been very marketable as is Hamilton. Companies want those 2 on their products. I’ve not heard them booed on the podium although I may be wrong (??) and in general, they seem to command respect regardless of whether you like them or not. It’s just not the same with Vettel. 3 Championships in and people still talk about how he’s not a world class driver…

  12. If Vettel is Red Bull’s #1 driver, why was the team order for Vettel not to overtake Webber, rather than the order being for Webber to move over and let Vettel pass him? It seems a slightly unusual tactic to tell your #1 driver not to win a race, no?

    Anyway, I think the best way to fix this situation is for Vettel and Webber to appear together in an hilariously misjudged commercial for Infiniti cars, portraying their animosity as a kind of playful rivalry. Y’know, all smiles and twee music, while behind the scenes their relationship deteriorates irreparably, dragging the team into complete meltdown and costing Red Bull an almost guaranteed double championship.

    Ooh, I think I just spotted a glitch in the Matrix…

    1. You think Vettel (or Webber) could find some secret materials and hand them to Jean Todt this year …

      1. I’m sure there’s plenty of dirt to be dug there. Flexible wings, engine maps, trick diffusers, I’m sure there’s something somewhere that could be used to sabotage the team.

        Although good luck with Jean Todt; he’s no Mosley is he. He’d just give a Gallic shrug and be all “you sink zis is bad? You should ‘av zin what ve did at Ferrari!” and walk away chuckling to himself.


        1. almost fell off the chair when I read this. :)

    2. @mazdachris The truth of the matter is that if Vettel wasn’t #1 driver,he wouldn’t give himself the freedom to ignore the team order.It’s not that the team made Vettel #1,it’s more like he put himself in that position by outclassing Webber so convincingly,and winning tree titles for the team.Basically team doesn’t really care who finished first,as long as they both finish,it’s 43 points eider way.There are times when team just can’t give equal treatment to the drivers,like when there is just one peace of upgrade,or a title decider,obviously than the team will favor its best shot,which in this case is Vettel,all the teams do that.The fact is that Vettel can do just about anything he wants,he can get away with a murder basically,as long as he delivers like he does,and he knows it.Besides what can RBR do,fire him,don’t think so.And if they somehow magically did that,and they won’t,it’s not like he would be in a problem of finding a top team for himself.RBR and Vettel are a perfect fit,and he is and will remain the clear #1 as long as he delivers,end of story.

      1. @kimster381 No I agree in that respect. I’ve maintained that Red Bull has (friction aside) a virtually perfect driver line up – a top level driver leading the team, and a teammate who is solid enough to regularly score high points but not to take points off of the lead driver. But this isn’t quite the same as Vettel being defacto #1 – what people talk about there, is that Red Bull themselves would favour Vettel in any given situation. So he’d receive preferential treatment. What this whole episode has proven is that Red Bull definitely don’t have a designated number 1, and that the performance that Vettel has put in has been entirely of his own making.

        The fact that Vettel disobeyed the team is a separate issue, and one which the team needs to decide how they want to address. He’s an amazing driver, but it’s not like there aren’t other amazing drivers out there, most of which would step over their own mothers to get a seat in a Red Bull. He’s not irreplaceable, and being good doesn’t mean that you get to behave exactly as you please. Personally, I’m glad he did disobey the order, because I like to see him racing and I admire his racing spirit. But when your boss tells you to do something, you are contractually obligated to do what you’re told, rather than putting your own interests above those of the team.

        How they address this is an almost impossible problem. If they punish him, it harms them. If they don’t, it sends out a message that Vettel is effectively the boss at Red Bull and he can make the calls on team orders whenever he likes. As Flavio Briatore says, you can’t have the team principle sat in one of the racing cars.

        1. @mazdachris Not only is it not impossible,it’s not even a problem,and they won’t punish him at all.It will end with Webber leaving the team during the season or strength after the season end.In fact Webber is the one that isn’t irreplaceable in this story,and like you said “it’s not like there aren’t other amazing drivers out there, most of which would step over their own mothers to get a seat in a Red Bull”.Like i said RBR and Vettel are a perfect fit,and they have the titles to prove it.

          1. Yep, a perfect fit, but the fact remains that they need to know that when they tell Vettel to do something (or not do something) then he’ll do as instructed and not just choose to ignore them. As great a driver as he is, he’s still an employee of the team and he needs to understand that the team comes first. Even Ferrari have always had that policy – team before driver. When driver ambition and team ambition is aligned, then great, but when there is conflict the driver has to do what he’s told, regardless.

            If they’re not to punish him, then they must effectively make him literally the number 1 driver, and only impose team orders which benefit Vettel. Because having a driver ignore what he’s told and constantly do his own thing makes them look extremely weak.

          2. ” when driver ambiton and team ambition are aligned “.

            How did Vettel violate this rule. The team would have still gotten 43 points. And let’s face it the guy with the better chance of fighting for the WDC won.

          3. Yes Vettel has 40 points now instead of 33, but what are the chances now of a collision between the two of them later this year? I’d say they went up a tad. And the “get him out of the way” comment on the radio will forever paint him as a spoiled brat in my opinion. Incredible that I used to like him actually.

          4. @sankalp88 Vettel violated the rule by racing and overtaking, at a point when RBR had a comfortable lead. We all know how RBR suffered with its tyres in Australia, hence the team did not want to take chances in racing and damaging their tires which might have resulted in losing some of the 43 points…

          5. There’s no way Mark Webber quits Red Bull mid-season. He’s not the kind of guy who’ll quit anything mid-way. It’s not in his DNA. He’ll have a good long think these 3 weeks, but he’s no quitter.

        2. @jjjj

          “We all know how RBR suffered with its tyres in Australia, hence the team did not want to take chances in racing and damaging their tires which might have resulted in losing some of the 43 points”

          Common, how many times are we going to go over this. The Mercs were already 7+ seconds behind by them, when Vettel made his move. Even an increase in wear rate would not have damaged RB’s 1-2 given that Hamilton was basically crawling. The only danger in which the ’43 points’ were, was from Webber’s aggressive defending. Which by the way I had no problem with. (It was great racing from Webber). I was just addressing @MazdaChris ‘ point about team ambition and driver ambition. I strongly believe what Vettel did was in line with his ambiiton and the team’s ambition. I’m certain Horner won’t counter this assertion one bit, although he would of course deny it in the media. A result which would have been the other way around (WEB – VET), could have hurt RB in the long run. Let’s face it Webber unlike Vettel won’t be challenging for the WDC. It makes more sense that the guy who genuinely has a chance of securing the title be ahead of a teammate who shows brilliance in patches.

          1. ^^sorry for the italics

  13. oh so what if they do or they dont! why he’s even bothering to respond to helmut markos comment i dont know.

    1. Because its 3 weeks before the next race and F1 drivers get bored easily.

      1. Or maybe the reporter asked him?

  14. I can’t believe it but I’m actually becoming a fan of Lewis Hamilton. And I’m starting to think if it wasn’t for his legion of fanboy followers I would have been a fan long ago. Comments I’ve seen about Lewis “thrashing” Alonso in his first season and such nonsense was what kept me from liking him, but I guess every driver has their supporters and you have to see past that. Being a Ferrari fan since the 90s I’ve even come to like Alonso, which is something I couldn’t have said 5 or 6 years ago.

    But when I actually think about it, Hamilton is one of my favourite drivers to watch, always exiting, his quali laps can be something to behold at times, and he races hard, yet clean and fair. Obviously at times he has trouble keeping his emotions in check and I don’t think he’ll ever be the wisest man around, but I chose to believe what he said about his podium on Sunday. Imagine what a relief it must have been for him to see that his decision to move wasn’t so bad after all and they have a chance at building a winning team, you’d have thought it would have been one of his most thoroughly satifying podiums. Lewis is no actor, and if he truly believes in achieving results in the right way, then I applaud him. Heck I might even cheer for him!

  15. Marko made a false statement, Lewis corrected it.
    Silence could mean consent.

  16. “If Vettel is Red Bull’s #1 driver, why was the team order for Vettel not to overtake Webber, rather than the order being for Webber to move over and let Vettel pass him? It seems a slightly unusual tactic to tell your #1 driver not to win a race, no?”

    Even if its not written in their contracts, I think both Redbull and Merc see Vettel and Hamilton as their number 1’s, but with it being so early in the season, and with how the race played out, and how marginal Redbull had been on tyres all weekend, and with Mercs best result since 2010 on the line, they both just wanted to bag the points.

    I do think though that Brawn thinks, providing they give him a half decent car season-long, Hamilton could be in with a shout of the title.

  17. the best in all that mess is that now everyone in RedBull are Seb’s bitches. he has clearely shown that he doesn’t care about team management, his teammate, anyone generally. Well done World Champ! – u are the best, buahahaha….

    1. +1 haha lol!!

  18. A more direct statement would be Vettel is #2 @ Redbull

    1. Vettel number 2 Red Bull at the same sentence never seen that before.

  19. We have seen orders in RB for Webber not to overtake Vettel and for Vettel not to overtake Webber. So, RB at least tries to maintain the appearance of being impartial (not totally successfully but still). We have seen orders from Ferrari for Massa to let Alonso pass or to back down, we have seen Ferrari demoting Massa down the grid to improve Alonso’s position, but we have yet to see a single team order from Ferrari favoring Massa over Alonso, not that I believe we’ll ever see that. So, Ferrari doesn’t even try with these two. As for Merc – until I’ve seen an order from them favoring Rosberg over Hamilton, I’m of the opinion that HAM is No.1 for them. As Nico said to Ross, ‘Remember this one’.

    1. This! RBR should just embrace this and do it the Ferrari way. Seems to be working out for them doesn’t it?

      1. Really the best way is to just let them race. Isn’t that what they did at Brazil 2010 when Webber was not waved pass Vettel for the lead? And they congratulated themselves after Abu Dhabi for letting the situation work itself out naturally.

        Team orders are always UN-natural and cause chaos – the dfference is that back in the 80s and 90s they might have been more necessary because teammates seemed to collide more often. Sure seems to me the driving standards these days are as ethical as I can ever remember – supporting the notion to just let them race (as Webber pointed out in Silverstone 2011). If team owners don’t like the risk, then you know what? Then you get to deal with a pissed off second driver instead (Rosberg and Webber today).

        Let em race. This aint Senna and Prost, nor is it DeCesaris and Arnoux. Those days are over.

      2. Seems to be working out for them doesn’t it?

        @roberto Is it working for Ferrai? As they go with their No.1 driver all the time, they might win the Drivers Championship, but not the Constructors… and this is where Redbull is so strong, because Mark also can score some solid points..

        Redbull were not on top in Australia, which they wanted badly, hence they wanted to play it very safe in Malaysia…

  20. Is there any point to playing dozens against Helmut Marko? If the guy who lives in the park across from my office yells something about me as I pass by do I have to respond to avoid a tacit admisssion?

    1. David not Coulthard (@)
      26th March 2013, 14:19

      But what if your grlfriend ask you about what your response would’ve been if you were to respond?

    2. @dmw Same I would say about Hamilton

  21. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    26th March 2013, 14:23

    Hamilton is the new star of Merc, and that doesnt mean he is or wants to be the clear Number 1 driver. Yes he is more talented and faster than Nico, but Helmut Marko didn’t use the best example when trying to prove a point. He probably should’ve aimed the comment at, oh I don’t know… Ferrari?

    Either way, Helmut was just being his usual self… A tool.

    1. Maybe ferrari’s lead driver didn’t finish that day, so that would not strike as a very juicy quip of the day . Marko must be gold for journalists( the bad ones ) , A guy who insults at the press of a button and gives them a juicy tagline to use .

  22. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    26th March 2013, 14:32

    Guys, it’s clear, Helmut is just a bit one-eyed with this situation. :p

  23. I truly believe that Hamilton does not have or did not ask for #1 status at Merc. He seems to be a purist at heart. And his body language in the room where they dry up and drink their water really showed it… He told the camera man to get it out of his face, in other words, he couldn´t bear being looked at after such a performance.
    Now with regards to Helmet…. He really has some titanium cojones to say that RBR does not have a clear 1 & 2…. The entire F1 community laughed at him!

  24. That has to be the most hypocritical statement of all time from dr. Helmut Marko

  25. The problem in these 2 teams is the “Helmut Marko” and “Ross Brawn”
    I live in Australia, and during the australian grand prix coverage and interviews, Mark Webber made it pretty clear that Marko does not like him, which we have known for a long time, he supports Vettel. Marko will say any rubbish after what Vettel did. and Marko seems to have more control over the team then
    Ross Brawn, – i really dont know what is up with him, his choice of team orders at that moment so early in the season is just unnaceptable, hamilton was only ahead of rosberg because he used up more fuel at the start of the race, hamilton was then running short of fuel and rosberg wasnt, how can he say it is a fair call to keep hamilton infront? even hamilton knew it wasnt. brawn is a bad sport, just like his words about Juan Montoya in 2003 when Montoya made a great move past Brawns driver Schumacher and then claimed Montoya was an “unclassy driver” because his driver schumacher spun when the move happened. i feel Brawn is a businessman only, and not interested in the sport of f1 racing. after the race, brawn said he was “not prepared to risk points” but the drivers still would have finished 3rd and 4th. if i were rosberg, i would be furious at brawn, rosberg has put in 3 hard years at mercedes, and beaten a 7 times champion every year, and now he has to put up with this. still, i think rosberg will show up hamiilton aswell, he is a gentleman and will do the arguing on track – which will prove Brawn wrong for a 4th year. Brawns cars have gone backwards each year since 2009, i do not expect this to be any different, he is not the genius some claim, it was Ferrari expertise that made him look better then he is in the schumacher era, and in 2009 it was honda expertise and his money he made from ferrari.

  26. Ahmed Alhojairat (@)
    26th March 2013, 15:18

    F1 is just full of kids!

  27. LOL Hamilton, i don’t think anyone believed in that statement. It’s obvious that Nico isn’t the no.1 driver, because he was faster than Hamilton, in terms of squad points the Mercedes with Ham-Nico or Nico-Ham would score the same, so, Hamilton is clearly the no.1. .

  28. The biggest problem Red Bull have is Helmut Marko. In my opinion, this guy is without doubt one of the most arrogant and downright nasty characters F1 has to offer. Which is saying something! This is the same Helmut Marko who, within the last six months, described Mark Webber as a ‘choker’ who can’t handle the pressure. So much for keeping team morale and spirits high!
    We all saw the grands prix on Sunday, we all heard Ross Brawn on the radio on several occasions talking to Nico Rosberg. Despite Rosberg’s numerous requests, Brawn ordered him to hold position and not to attack Lewis Hamilton. The best result for Mercedes was a three/four finish, did it really matter which driver finished ahead of the other? If both drivers are equal, as Hamilton claims, within the team, then the answer to that question is no! It certainly didn’t look that way at Sepang, and Rosberg’s comment at the end to Brawn to
    ‘remember this’ shows you what Nico thought about it.
    Lets not forget that Ross Brawn presided over one of the biggest fiasco’s in F1 history at the Austrian Grands Prix eleven years ago, by ordering Rubens Barrichello to move aside for Michael Schumacher to win the race. It was that hugely unpopular decision that made the FIA ban team orders in the first place, a ruling that was only scrapped in 2011. Ross Brawn knows how to run an F1 team, and to bring both cars home and score as many points as possible. He is as good a strategist and Adrian Newey is at making air do things over a car that almost defy belief.
    But for Marko to imply that he, and Red Bull especially, hold the morale high ground just because Mercedes implemented team orders is an utter nonsense. Red Bull made Webber turn his engine down for one soul reason, and that reason was so that Sebastien Vettel could catch him up and pass him. They got cold feet when the two fought on track as hard as they did, because they thought they may lose one if not both cars similar to Turkey 2010. And that’s that. This is why Webber was so angry, he realized WHY he had been given the order to preserve the car and that really ticked him off.

    1. I’m a RB fan but every time I hear or see Marko I cringe. He drove the wedge between Vettel and Webber in 09 and threw salt on open wounds in 10.
      If that Vettel/Webber thing blows up this year – I know who to blame.

    2. jimscreechy (@)
      26th March 2013, 18:22

      I completely agree, but seriously is it even worth the thought and time it takes to rebuff a Marko comment that even the Red Bull team knows is… (lets put it politely) nothing but Rhetoric.

  29. Oh yeah RedBull has a No 1 who is not allowed to overtake his team mate.

    Mercedes has NO No 1 even though a driver was not allowed to overtake his team mate who was slower.

    Lewis. Just accept the fact that you are No 1 in Mercedes. It is agood thing to be in. Dont feel guilty about it.

    So funny. Vettel feels guilty about winning and Lewis feels guilty about being No 1. Crazy.

    1. its true. i dont know if lewis feeling is real but, i think ross brawn is having an input into it, ross brawn is the worst sportsman in the f1 field, his record since ferrari team order days is true to this – and he is continueing it now, i dont know what he wants to achieve, obviously not results in a sporting sence, i think just in “dollars” – he seems more a politician or businessman then an active man in the sporting field. i really despise him, and i hope others can see his true side too

  30. Bear Claw Chris Lap
    26th March 2013, 15:59

    Quite right, Lewis.

    You have a #4 and a #7 but, clearly, no #1 or #2.

  31. after what manifested in the race, i am afraid Hamilton is wrong, Ross Brawn has made it clear who is number one at mercedes. I hope Rosberg for a fourth year wont take this laying down from this scumbag Brawn, he didnt take it laying down versus the favourite son Schumacher, so i am sure he can deal with hamilton favouratism. Brawn is the most overrated of all the team principles, he got lucky by being in the right place at the right time with ferrari, but since then, even with his team brawn (which was an exceptional Honda), his cars have a common habit of getting worse through out the year, in 2009 the honda brawn started the best, and was overtaken by redbull later. the mercedes under brawn in 2010, 2011 and 2012, they started well – then went backwards. 2013 wont change. ross brawn is overpaid and over opionionated, just read his comments about the team orders this past race, he is so wrong

  32. They do, his name is Rosberg…

  33. This all depends on how you define “number 1 driver”: if it is meaning as in one driver is favoured by team orders and strategists, then Red Bull clearly don’t have a number 1 driver – team orders were imposed against Vettel in Malaysia (albeit which he chose to ignore, not to the delight of his team though mind). This is rather unlike Ferrari for example, where Alonso is favoured.

    If we take number one as having one driver who is clearly better than the other though, then yes Red Bull do have a number one, as do probably Mercedes (Hamilton is widely acknowledged to be better than Rosberg). That is a subject that is as clear as mud though.

    1. Well… Only Red Bull technically have a number 1 driver, as Sebastian Vettel is the only driver on the grid with a big “1” on the nose.

      1. @craig-o – very true haha!

    2. @Vettel1

      I tend to disagree with the majority opinion of Alonso being favored at Ferrari…
      Every time Alonso received preferential treatment from Ferrari, he was the only Ferrari driver in WDC contention.. be it Germany 2010, USA 2012 or Brazil 2012…

      I am sure Ferrari considers Alonso their best shot for WDC… because he has proven that he is a better driver than Massa… But I am also sure if there comes a time when Massa is a title contender and alonso is not , Massa will be the one receiving preferential treatment..

      2007 and 2008 are best examples of that.. . Kimi received preferential treatment when massa was out of the title race… And the roles were reversed in 2008…
      What Ferrari wants is one of their drivers to win WDC, like any other team… and I dont think they would care if it’s Massa or Alonso …

      In each of the last three years, Alonso put himself in the position to receive preferential treatment by being so far ahead of Massa ..

      On a side note I am expecting a closer fight between the two this year but still expect Alonso to have the upper hand..

      1. @puneethvb – this is very true, although I tend to see it as Ferrari favour one driver at a much earlier stage than some other teams – they don’t wait until their “second” driver is out of contention mathematically, so I would say this leans towards a number one policy (or at least a less balanced one than Red Bulls, which I don’t believe is a number one by the first definition).

  34. It seems as obvious as can be that, whatever Hamilton thinks, Mercedes regard him as their No 1 driver. And I notice that Lewis was not so bothered by the team orders as to wave Rosberg past him.

    1. ‘Wave Rosberg past him’?
      Is that even allowed…?

  35. “Red Bull have a clear one and two, they always have. And that is why they have always had the problems they have had.”

    That sentence makes no sense whatsoever. Ferrari have a clear one and two, and they always have. So have they always had problems with it?

  36. This is all after two races…Guys – I think we’re in for a classic!

  37. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    26th March 2013, 18:18

    …(amusingly snorts)…

  38. It’s entirely possible that there could have been a title sponsor bonus for HAM on podium (marketability).

  39. I don’t understand why HAM weighed into this debate, RBR have so much pressure on them at the moment and now he goes and shines the spotlight on Mercedes.

    I understand that a reporter would have asked HAM for his opinion, but there is no rule stating that you are obliged to answer.

  40. Classic Flavio!


    He may have a point though.

    1. He’s got a point… as most of the time.

  41. Saying red bull don’t have a number one is ridiculous, they have tried fairly hard to appear to not favour vettel, why else would they randomly order vettel to stay behind webber so early? They knew it would have little effect on the championship, being round two, and it would make mark perhaps feel a bit more equal, so win win. Ferrari are different, since massas form goes from pretty decent to absolutely horrible, and Alonso is the prost of the current crop, in that he is usually incredibly consistent, and much more skilled than Massa. That is why ferrari favour alonso, because they purposely, and famously, always pair a top driver with a mid field driver, so as to avoid the mclaren syndrome of losing titles and good drivers by pairing the two best drivers together. It makes sense in my mind to employ ferraris strategy, when it works, its gold, just look at schuey and barrichello. But you need a really top car for it to work, we have seen how it can work against them, as in when there is a big gap to other top teams, their number one driver uses his superior skill to salvage decent results, while the number two struggles to bring home some points. Imo there isnt such a big gap in skill between webber and vettel, and the team suffers because webber obviously feels he’s good enough if he’s given the same opportunity as vettel. Obviously, this hasn’t gotten in the way too much, so I don’t think they would care a whole lot. Mercedes is different though. Rosberg has proven in the little time he’s had to do so, that if he isn’t as good as Hamilton, the difference in skill is tiny. They will suffer much worse than red bull if they continue to favour one driver over the other. Red bull manage it by making things fairly equal early in the season, knowing seb is more consistent so he will soon enough be ahead of mark and they can start favouring him without causing too much damage. Ferrari, having a much bigger gap between their drivers skill, can afford to do this much earlier, not to mention Massa is such a good sport they know it won’t cause a rift. Mercedes drivers are closer than red bull, and way closer than ferrari, so I think this is a dangerous game they’re playing, which could very easily result in Rosberg leaving.

  42. Mr. Lewis seems to forget all the number 1 treatment he got with Alonso and Heikki.

  43. The worst thing about RedBull is that they try to point fingers at other teams saying that those other teams have number 1 drivers. They criticized Ferrari for it a few years back, now they are doing the same for Merc. Its yet to be seen if Merc has a number 1 driver and its unfair to think so only after two races. It seems both have been given the same car and no one has been deprived of any new parts yet. However, their actions on Sunday might paint a different picture. Still I will give them the benefit of doubt and give them a few more races.

    Ferrari is criticized a lot but at least they don’t lie about it. They don’t come out and say Alonso is not their number 1 driver. As for RedBull its pretty clear I think to everyone but themselves, so why keep lying. Just come out and flat out say that Vettel is their number 1, because he has a better chance of winning at the end of the year. They instead want to appear loved to the public so they lie. But now I think no one is fooled.

    1. When did Ferrari say openly that Alonso is their number1 driver? Can you give any one reference of that , if you dont mind?

      To my knowledge they’ve never said that..

  44. If Lewis felt so bad than why didnt he let Rosberg through?

    The reason why Mercedes told Rosberg to stay put was because they were afraid of them fighting for position and crashing into each other. If indeed Hamilton felt that Rosberg should have been on the podium, why not just take the decision upon himself and let him through? Or from the teams point of view, if they were afraid of a battle and a potential DNF, than why not tell Hamilton to let Rosberg through without a fight because he has a better chance of pressuring the Redbulls?

    I am not saying this should have happened. I am just pointing out that there is a choice here and both Hamilton and Mercedes made the choice. There is no point feeling sorry afterwards.

  45. interesting how the competitors try to shake Red Bull drivers confidence with digs, inuendos and general attacks. They should save their energy for the race.

  46. Regardless of who did what, some people just don’t know what an order from their boss is.

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