Posted on: March 25, 2013
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German Supremacy: Vettel overpowers Webber to remind the legend of Jackie Stewart

By Supriyo Das

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German Supremacy: Vettel overpowers Webber to remind the legend of Jackie Stewart

Three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel successfully thwarted off any advances from Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in an exciting battle to clinch the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, with the German later apologizing for ignoring team instructions late in the race.

Vettel, who had previously complained to the team about Webber’s slow move, fought against the Australian for most of the day, with the cars almost touching as the German took the lead on the 46th lap for his 27th win, which syncs the total of three-time champion Jackie Stewart. The German now leads Lotus driver Kimi Raiikonen by nine points in the championship.

The optimistic Vettel left Webber totally upset, with the Australian driver adamant of acknowledging his teammate after the race. Webber said that he had reduced speed while in the lead to save his tires and engine only to be passed by Vettel. Asked if the bout had him reconsidering his role at Red Bull, Webber said he had “a lot of things going through my mind.”

 “It was a close fight and I’m not entirely happy,” Vettel said. “I made a big mistake today and we should have stayed in the position. I messed up in that situation and took the lead from Mark and can say now he is upset. Apologies to Mark. The result is there and all I can say is that I didn’t do it deliberately.”

Vettel maintained he wasn’t aware of his error until after the race.

“Mark should have won,” Vettel said, adding that he won’t make the mistake again.

Webber relished a great start to the race, jumping from fifth into second and then obtained the lead on the ninth lap. He exchanged places with Vettel numerous times in the first half of the race as they both pitted and the German almost got past Webber on the 33rd lap after coming out of the pits.

 “Basically, I got myself into position where we were controlling the race,” Webber said. “Had a pretty good situation. I was ready for a sprint to the end and the team rang up and said, ‘the race pressure is off, look after the tires. Don’t fight each other.’ I turned the engine down.”

Also, Mercedes stretched its unexpected run with 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton finishing third ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg.

But a similar issue to that at Red Bull hit Mercedes, with Rosberg being told to stand down with five laps to go despite having better pace than Hamilton. Team Principal Ross Brawn implored Rosberg to back off from Hamilton and the German later informed the team to “remember this one” after the race.

“I don’t feel spectacular sitting here. Nico deserved to be where I am right now,” Hamilton said. “Obviously, the team thought for position in the championship it was logical to stay in the position we are in. I say congratulations to Nico. He drove a much smarter and controlled race than I did.”

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