Skip navigation
F1 Opinion 118

Vettel the villain

The most telling moment of the British Grand Prix was not when Lewis Hamilton’s left rear Pirelli exploded, turning itself into what looked for most of his in-lap like some post-modern wagon wheel. It was when on lap 40 Sebastian Vettel coasted to a halt against the pitwall on the inside of the exit of Club Corner.

opinion  Vettel the villain

The significance was not that his Red Bull had failed him; even the best run teams cannot guarantee perfect reliability from first to last. It was the reaction of the crowd. Their roaring, whooping, crowing delight at such bad luck made for a pretty undignified spectacle. And let’s be clear, this wasn’t because he was driving a Red Bull. Austrian in name only, this was a home event for the men and women of Milton Keynes just up the road. Believe me, had it been Mark Webber parking up, the crowd would have been as sympathetic towards him as it was vitriolic towards Vettel. Make no mistake, this was personal.

Part of me hopes it was because it would position the man they’d come to see win the race one place higher in the rankings, though in the event and through no fault of his own, Lewis was not even to trouble the podium. However most of me knows perfectly well that it’s a manifestation of the pleasure found in having a new figure in the sport to hate.

opinion  Vettel the villain

How difficult it is to remember how hard we once clutched this Monty Python-loving, Beatles-grooving, full English-consuming Anglophile to our bosoms. Actually, it was earlier this year. But then came Malaysia and in an instant, everything changed. In fact even that’s not true. What I suspect poisoned our view of Vettel was not what he did, nor even that the man he did it to, while Australian, is considered one of us. All that was salvageable. What put him beyond the pale was his statement that put in that position again, he’d do exactly the same thing. In our eyes, that was Vettel’s Rubicon moment.

Of course he made it too easy for us. First, the statement was so blunt, so lacking in any consideration for team or team-mate it left us to infer an arrogance of such proportion that it seemed he was inviting us to hate him. Second he made the statement after our last pantomime villain had just left the stage. We needed someone to love to hate and, kind chap that he is, Vettel put his name forward in the most unambiguous way imaginable. Third, Vettel is German. When Germans are modest, funny and not always successful we love them, which is why Boris Becker is commentating at Wimbledon as we speak. But woe betide the German who not only appears to think he is superior to everyone else, but whose driving shows quite clearly there’s a very good chance he’s right.

opinion  Vettel the villain

I didn’t like what Vettel did to Webber and his team in Malaysia and despite the former’s protestations to the contrary, I’d be amazed if the latter’s move away from F1 was not motivated at least in part the knowledge that he was, is and always would have been be the un-named number two in the team. But the cheers and jeers of the British crowd upon his retirement at Silverstone were wholly inappropriate. For so many thousands of people to glory so vocally at the simple misfortune of one driver is pretty unedifying, especially as it was of no game-changing benefit to any British driver.

If the British hated Sebastian Vettel before the race, you can take it as given the feeling is now entirely mutual.

Click here for more on Formula 1.

Click here for more from Andrew Frankel.

opinion  Vettel the villain

Add your comments

118 comments on Vettel the villain

  1. Paul Veysey, 2 July 2013 09:17

    You may have been bosom clutching, but many realised that Anglophile, Pythonophile, Beatlophile or not, there was an arrogance underlying the genius in SV, that was unattractive.
    The dislike you noted from the crowd was possibly more pure and more admirable exactly because it was not laced with our chap gaining advantage from SV’s mishap.
    Perhaps, even, the braying mob you heard was displaying a typically British ironic humour that we foreign johnnies find so attractive.

  2. John, 2 July 2013 09:39

    I was there, and from my part it had nothing to do with his nationality. I remember Schumacher being a bit of a fan favorite at Silverstone, much to my surprise.

    All good F1 drivers are bad losers, I actually quite like Vettel but he’s often a bad winner too. I was glad to see him retire because yet again he’d seen luck turn his way and it’s tiresome to see the same person winning and seemingly never having much in terms of poor luck. You don’t win three titles on the bounce by not being a quality driver, but he does seem to luck in more than a lot of others.

    What I will say though is that some fans were booing him before that which I did think was poor taste. I’ve noticed it at other circuits too, so I think it’s more down to how he comes across than being German.

  3. keith, 2 July 2013 09:39

    Lets be honest the British have short memories when it comes to Webber stabbing Vettel in the back. FACT!

  4. Andy Young, 2 July 2013 10:17


    You may have misunderstood people’s reasons for disliking Vettel and overemphasised your own thoughts. I used to like him like everyone else did. Then came that finger, Turkey 2010, the odd unsporting comment, Christian Horner’s stubborn loyalty, Marko’s fanatical defiance of his favoured son and the realisation that his demeanour was a mask and underneath was someone actually slightly unpleasant in the way they lost and won. His nationality has nothing to do with my dislike of him. What you will find is that many people from around the world dislike Vettel for sporting reasons, Malaysia just confirmed again what I knew – he has an unattractive sense of entitlement. This incident cemented nothing that had not been confirmed already, I did not find it surprising. He could be from Outer Mongolia and I would still dislike him because of his behaviour and the fuel supplied from RBR management.

  5. jimmy.c, 2 July 2013 10:17

    i must say it was a bit disappointing when it seemed the loudest cheer of the weekend was for vettel’s gearbox and not hamilton’s pole lap. it does highlight the passion the brits have for the sport though which I like to see. I was at monza a couple of years ago and throughout the weekend, every time a ferrari went past at least one in the relatively small stand would applaud their passing. equally whenever a yellow helmet in a mclaren appeared a thumbs down or boo was given. that weekend the loudest cheer I heard was when lewis binned it on the last lap racing harder than anyone, not the ferrari on the third step of the podium.. dominance can make the sport boring and reliability can make it predictable so perhaps the cheers on sunday might not all have been personal. I admit though that I was glad to have been spared that arrogant finger jutting out of my screen at the races end.

  6. Eurico Martins, 2 July 2013 10:18

    Vettel is a fenomenal driver. But a young one, still learning how to behave like a man. Everyone knows about his ambitious attitude of winning at all costs, even if it means curbing fair play rules. In the eyes of the public, that makes you the villain. The same was with Schumacher. The fact they are German I feel it’s just a coincidence. People like Rosberg. Why do people like Button? Everyone knows he is not the fastest, but he comes across as a reasonable chap, one of us, therefore easy to become the hero.

  7. Marc, 2 July 2013 10:18

    Oh please! Vettel has more bad luck than good luck. Alonso is the known “luckiest on the grid” since half the wins he has collected have only been because the guy in front had a problem handing him the win which requires ZERO skill.

    There’s a stat going about that Vettel is the most unluckiest driver in the last 10 years and yet he still has 3 world titles to his name. Lucky? that only happend in 2011 and he destroyed the field.

    The people are only booing because their favorites can’t stop him, Vettel is the best driver on the grid now and the public perception and their blinkers cannot change it.

  8. Adam Engberg, 2 July 2013 10:37

    I couldn’t disagree with this article more. The F1 fans I know, me included, don’t hate Vettel at all. He’s brilliant and ruthless for sure but there’s nothing wrong with that.

    The reason I cheered when his car failed was simply because it keeps the championship alive! With Hamilton not able to fight for the win, Vettel’s victory looked assured along with his ever increasing points margin.

    You’re using a very wide brush with which to tar the entire British F1 fan base.

  9. Paul Madden, 2 July 2013 10:56

    Bad sportsmanship is rife. As an example, when I was Kid watching rugby with my dad back in the 1960s, when the opposing team scored a try, or converted a penalty, we clapped their good play. Now, when an opposing player lines up for a kick at goal, the crowd boos, to try to put the kicker off. It does not seem to matter that this has no effect, the crowd still boos. Vettel does not deserve this behaviour from spectators; all it does is demonstrate their own lack of sportsmanship. A sad state of affairs.

  10. Anthony, 2 July 2013 11:05

    I also disagree with this article. I think the reason people’s attitudes have changed towards Vettel are due to his dominance in the sport. I wasn’t at Silverstone, but I was stood and cheering when he stopped. The reason? It means that the championship is back on. I like Vettel and the fact he appeared on stage at the Grand Prix party after the race and played drums shows that he is a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Although I like him I am hoping he has similar bad luck at the next race!

  11. Daryl McGrath, 2 July 2013 11:11

    People’s reaction was because:

    1. Vettel wins all the time and unless from that particular nation, people will love to see him lose and someone else win.

    2. What he did the Webber in Malaysia. Ignoring the rights and wrongs, people adore Webber and the British see him almost as one of their own.

    3. Vettel has shown he can be quite petulent when things don’t go his way. He can be charming but a brat in equal measures and people don’t like that.

    I’m not British or German so have no side or the other, just seeing it as it is. I whooped when Vettel dropped out simply because it opened the championship back up again – reason #4 why the crowd may have reacted as they did. What was heading for a 40 odd point gap is instead 21 points – the championship remains interesting.

    It was a reaction that shouldn’t have surprised anyone but it’s a storm in a teacup, get over it and move on.

  12. Bill, 2 July 2013 11:17

    What a rubbish column, Andrew Frankel. For instance this bit:

    “All that was salvageable. What put him beyond the pale was his statement that put in that position again, he’d do exactly the same thing. In our eyes, that was Vettel’s Rubicon moment.”

    Webber said exactly the same thing at Silverstone 2011, that he couldnt look himself in the mirror if he adhered to teamorders. No backlash, no Rubicon moment. Maybe it has poisoned your view (please stop refering to us fans as ”we”) on Vettel, but a lot of people love him and can easely see through this sort of hypocrisy.

    And it goes much further than that.
    Alonso isnt ridiculed for his #1 status demand, but Vettel is.
    Vettel’s domination is boring but Mansells isnt.
    Vettel does one thing out of the rulebook and hes a villain, but Hamilton having 40 events on his book does nothing.

    He can never win because the other top drivers have been around longer and therefore have large numbers of established fans.

    It’s the fans of other drivers who hate him, not anyone else. The cause of the hate of course is his success. They aren’t going to say that, of course. There’s a long list of commonly sited excuses. But the hate fundamentally comes out of resentment of his talent and success. In a weekend where Lewis Hamilton scored pole and lost a win its easy to see.

    “If the British hated Sebastian Vettel before the race, you can take it as given the feeling is now entirely mutual” Thing is, Vettel doesnt seem to be bothered with what others think of him. Thats what makes him so great.

  13. Pat O'Brien, 2 July 2013 11:17

    I agree with Adam. Vettel has done everything asked of him but his achievements are denigrated as being due to his driving the best car on the grid. How many years has McLaren had the best car but did not dominate? No question I’d rather have Button as a next door neighbor but if I were running a team I’d want SV driving my car.

  14. Rodriguez 917, 2 July 2013 11:20

    Firstly if a Brit can’t win we will always go for the underdog. Vettel isn’t a Brit or an underdog. Secondly we Brits love it when someone wins graciously and doesn’t point a finger in your face stating number 1. Vettel doesn’t win graciously. Finally we Brits have a long history of losing in a sporting manner, be it a semi final at the world cup or by being punted off by a Benetton in 1994 in Adelaide. We don’t like toys being thrown out of the pram or someone disobeying team orders and stealing a win, then apologising, then saying he’d do it again. Vettel, well you know what comes next…

  15. Bill, 2 July 2013 11:27

    In addition:

    The boos and cheers Vettel receives when he wins/experiences bad luck are the biggest compliment he can be given. It says that his ability to win has gone so far beyond the “good job, well done” that people with other allegiances despair to the extent all they can do is boo when he wins and go crazy when he retires.

    Why are people sympathetic to one driver with silly celebrations, but not the other?
    Why are people sympathetic to one driver who has a mouth on the radio, but not the other?
    Why are people sympathetic to one driver putting his team mate(s) on the back foot, but not the other?
    Why are people sympathetic to one driver having a winning car for most of his career, but not the other?

    If Vettel was British, hed be cheered all through Silverstone. If he had been driving a Ferrari, hed be cheered a lot at Canada. That the British dont like him because he makes Hamilton look average is understandable. The backlash will probably come next week, when the German fans will not be too kind to the British drivers and respond in kind.

    Yes the Brits cheered for German Rosberg, but he doesnt have 3 world titles and is – for now- not really a threat to the status of Hamilton. Vettel is.

    But from pundits on Motorsport Magazine I expect more than sycophantic and shallow reminders of what happened a few months ago as that being the picotal point, and ignore what teammate Webber said and did 2 years ago. That is really not fair at all.

  16. Richard Craig, 2 July 2013 11:40

    Maybe it’s not especially edifying but it’s nothing new.
    We British like the underdog and therefore by definition do not like dominance. We have had the uneasy feeling that Vettel is galloping to a fourth straight title and this misfortune spices things up a bit. Last year Alonso was the class of the field yet Vettel won the crown – perhaps this will be switched this year.
    It is little to do with his nationality, it’s more the fact that he seems like a spoiled brat who’s had it come too easy to him. It’s nothing personal – most of the top drivers in history were probably as popular as excessive nasal hair but I doubt they cared particularly.
    Senna was not a favourite at Silverstone – and please don’t anyone tell me otherwise – as the crowd’s delight at his consecutive retirements in ‘91-‘93 (and his acknowledgement of this at the ’91 Autosport awards) shows.

  17. Jean, 2 July 2013 11:47

    You failed to mention his abandoning his car 3/4 on the race track.Very sporting indeed.Rosberg is German but what class he has.

  18. Fraser Mackay, 2 July 2013 11:48

    Did the ‘SC’ sign behind him stand for ‘Sauer Craut’?

  19. Michael Coombes, 2 July 2013 12:00

    The problem isn’t his nationality it’s that people tend to hate someone who is successful as bad as that sounds look at say Michael Schumacher. The people claiming his arrogance as a reason but still flocking to support Lewis should probably have another quick glance, there isn’t a single driver at this stage who isn’t arrogant to some degree, they’re the top 22 in the world, the somewhat have a right to be arrogant about that

  20. Brian Drian, 2 July 2013 12:05

    I think the antipathy goes well beyond Malaysia this year. His astonishingly poor sportsmanship has been on show since he arrived in the spotlight. Was he not booed on the podium at the last race? They weren’t all johnny-foreigner hating little-englanders were they? No, they were Canadians plus a healthy sprinkling of people from all over the planet. And im sure there were plenty of non brits who cheered at his demise at Silverstone. I recall reading a scribe expressing their displeasure at this occurrence at Montreal, saying that races are not place to vent such feelings, that there are plenty of other online. But the fact is that at races is the ONLY place a fan express their displeasure that a driver will hear it, as they spend all their time in such a cossetted world.
    it is not nice, but neither is he!

  21. Diane Cullimore, 2 July 2013 12:08

    Not impressed with this piece at all.It was the fans chance to show Vettel that his behaviour isn’t tolerated by the fans.He is becoming wau too much like Schumacher and that isn’t a compliment.He needs to know that we don’t like his petulance or his lack of respect for his team mate.I cheered too but i wasn’t there.It was a natural reaction.Nothing to do with him winning,although i think he should show more respect for Newey as without him he wouldnt be where he is.He also needs to take in the fact that with his behaviour he loses respect and like Schumacher he won’t go down as the most loved driver there ever was.Next time park it in the pits too why on earth didnt he pit,i was very suspicious of his leaving it where he did.I can never support a man with no integrity.

  22. Peter Corby, 2 July 2013 12:18

    This is not an interesting article. I prefer to find such trivial subjectivity in publications like the Daily Mail. Then I can be sure to never read them.

  23. Peter G., 2 July 2013 12:37

    I, too, was also cheering Vettels’ misfortune while watching the race on TV in Nerang, Australia, some 12,000 miles from Silverstone. I used to like him, but, success and the way Red Bull appears to be run, certainly does not endear me to them.

    Look forward to follow Mark Webber in sports cars next year.

  24. Sakuraba, 2 July 2013 12:47

    The un-named number two in the team with an actual number two written onto his car.

  25. Mn8, 2 July 2013 12:55

    When I want your opinion on how I should behave I’ll ask for it. I watch the sport that pays his wages, I’ll like or dislike who I please and at the end of the day all the people that booed him pretty much keep him employed as a driver. Save your self righteous bullshit for someone else. It’s called FREEDOM, ever heard of it.

  26. Elusive American F1 Fan, 2 July 2013 13:04

    Whole lotta cheering in my living room and not a shred of remorse.

  27. Michael Spitale, 2 July 2013 13:21

    Vettel seems to be one of the nicest guys in F1. He is great to the press compared to Alonso and Raikkonen, etc. Perhaps it is a German thing, but whatever it is England, Australia and Canada are always nasty to Seb.

    Not a fan of bad sports…

  28. Michael Spitale, 2 July 2013 13:23

    Sick and tired of hearing about Vettel’s “luck” He has HORRIBLE luck compared to most. He has lost no less than 6 races while leading… His car dies a lot. Raikkonen and Alonso have not had a car die once in the past 1 1/2 years. Vettel has had 4 die.

  29. chris green, 2 July 2013 13:51

    hi andrew – i know how you feel.

    i had a similar experience here in australia at a speedway meeting in the early ’80s.

    a friend from nz dragged me along to see the legendary 6 times world champion ivan mauger race at liverpool speedway.

    the aussie crowd dutifully booed and heckled mauger. i was dumbfounded and embarrassed. i have never been to a race meeting since.

    most sporting crowds seem to have an ugly element but here in oz we seem to have developed it into an art form.

  30. Garry, 2 July 2013 13:54

    It’s the superiority, damn arrogance and bordering on rude of That Finger that winds me up

  31. Bill, 2 July 2013 14:09

    @ Paul Madden: That saddens me to hear. I always enjoyed going to rugby matches, and was just about to say what a decent and friendly attitude the fans there have.

    It also saddens me to read of the usual double standards in the comments against Vettel, like that he always had a great car (he started in Torro Rosso, but thats easely forgotten it seems). As if Hamilton never had his hands on a great car in F1 from day one.

    And aside of Vettels succes, and maybe one or two arrogant comments, he usually is very down to earth, and goes out of his way to meet any journalist and event, and won many over at his speech at the Autosport Awards last year, with his dry wit, his Kimi impersonations, and his thorough knowledge of the history of the sport. He has no manager, no bling, no entourage. He’s very dedicated, focussed, controversy free and admits mistakes. Sure hes not perfect, but id say hes a lot more likeable than Schumacher (career part1 at least). Then again, he was booed too when he crashed and broke his leg in 1999.

    The large part of the British crowd at the Hatton – Mayweather fight in Vegas, Haye – Klitschko, many footballmatches…maybe it isnt just Vettel alone, mr Frankel, and you should do some introspection before posting this rather sanctimonious column.

    Last point: this booing from one part of the crowd doesnt do justice to the many, many great British motorsports fans that show respect. A nation so rich in racing history really doesnt need those disrespectful ones.

  32. Bill, 2 July 2013 14:16

    @garry So the finger winds you up? A little gesture? Button and Rubens Barrichello also used the same finger. Did you find them also hugely arrogant? What about Alonso standing on top of his car, waving his ears in his Renault days? All drivers have their gestures. Why is Vettel’s finger so annoying? Is he not allowed to do that?

  33. Renzo, 2 July 2013 14:18

    It wasn’t just at Silverstone. He was booed on the podium in Montreal during the driver interviews as well, so it isn’t just the Brits who have taken a disliking to him.

  34. Tokenpom, 2 July 2013 14:21

    To anybody with a Racing background, Vettel saying he would ‘do the same again’, sounds perfectly reasonable, and what you would expect him to say.

    The problem is, most of his audience do not have a racing background, and regard F1 as a kind of Soap Opera, with ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, and with that one line, he went from one, to the other.

  35. Keith Collantine | F1 Fanatic, 2 July 2013 14:26

    Why have you only singled out the Silverstone spectators for this? Vettel got a similarly hostile reception when he took to the podium in Canada.

    And how can you object to Vettel’s refusal to obey team orders in Malaysia this year yet ignore his own team mate’s similar actions in the past? Why hold Vettel to a higher standard than Webber?

    This one-sidedness was evident in a lot of coverage of Webber’s retirement announcement last week in British newspapers. Plenty of references to Sepang 2013. None for Silverstone 2011. You can’t give such slanted coverage and then complain Vettel has been unfairly cast as the bad guy by British fans.

    Having said that, I agree wholeheartedly that going to a race with the intention of booing one competitor regardless of what they do is disgusting. Those are not the actions of a sports fan. Those are the actions of a bully.

  36. Johnny, 2 July 2013 14:46

    Although he partly is to blame for his image,the biggest factor is Webber because he is the UK media darling. They all like him no problem, but i dont like his hypocrite behaviour. Like Someone already pointed out that he didn’t obey team orders aswell and everyone loved him for that. Double standards much? And im sure if the incident in malaysia happend the other way around we woudn’t have this outrage, no webber would have been applauded for sticking it in red bulls face.I was surprised to see no one in the media pointed out his ridiculous move on vettel, almost pushing him in the pitwall. Not a word.. I remember a certain other German driver ho got blasted for a similar move in hungary…

    Vetell arrogant i see posted here aswell, baffles me to be honest bacause if there are two drives i think that come across as arrogant then its Alonso and Hamilton. Alonso talking his rival down isnt actaully full of grace isn’t it? Waving hands at petrov for ruining his championship while petrov was just RACING!.

    And that comment from somebody here to say: We Brits know how to lose gracefully and win gracefully. Well if that isn’t arrogance i don’t now what else is. Like your the only country on the world where that happends….

  37. Alice Rose, 2 July 2013 15:00

    People disliking Vettel goes way beyond what he did in Malaysia. After all, he was booed quite viciously in Canada last year. No, all it did was confirm people’s suspicions that he is a spoilt little brat with no sense of sportsmanship.

    I’m not a Vettel fan first and foremost because I don’t find him particularly interesting to watch race. He just doesn’t excite me. But he also ultimately lacks what I feel makes for a well-rounded Formula 1 driver. Whilst he may be ‘ruthless’, that means nothing if you’re also not a gracious sportsmen willing to sometimes put things other than results first. I give you Peter Collins handing over his Car to Fangio so he could win the championship, or Stirling Moss standing up for Mike Hawthorn when he was threatened with a penalty that would have cost him the title.

    You can’t compare things Mark has done to what Vettel has because Mark has never been Red Bull’s darling. For all the loyalty he’s shown them, he’s received nothing in return. And I’d say he deserves a few little blips after putting up with that for so long.

  38. hamfan, 2 July 2013 15:10

    What a bunch of thin-skinned pansies some of the commenters here sound. And the article’s author.

    As if (significant) elements of Spanish or Italian crowds don’t boo and hiss the competitors of their favourites. I remember the monkey noises coming from the stands at Barca, directed at the sole black driver in F1. Get over it everyone, grow up.

    Vettel was booed because of the way Webber’s been treated by Seb’s sugar daddy Helmut, nothing more or less. Webber is a popular guy among Brit F1 fans (not to mention all the Aussies resident in Britain), and the Brit press – and there’s nothing wrong with that, entirely normal.

    Webber comes across as a man. Vettel a little cossetted twerp.

  39. Nismoron, 2 July 2013 15:17

    Hey, every good soap opera needs a villain. They do the same thing in NASCAR. What will be interesting is how the “villain” and “hero” roles play out in F1 this season. It may be that by the time we are in Brazil, SV will be a hero again…..

  40. wfo900, 2 July 2013 15:37

    That sort of reaction is pretty common. When Senna blew up his McLaren after an inspired drive in the wet in Montreal the crowd went nuts- much like last weekend. The crowd did the same thing when Dale Earnhardt cut a tire leading the Daytona 500. I was only surprised by the Senna reaction and was still surprised this weekend. I guess Sebbie is starting to have the same aura about him that Senna had.

  41. Rob Christoph, 2 July 2013 15:40

    Spot on Andrew! He’s brought all this on himself. I was near the start line with my son on Sunday and the roar that went up was akin to England scoring a late winner against Germany in a football match. Ultimately, it’s the arrogance that people detest in a competitor, just as much as it’s abhorred in normal life. Obviously, there is a part of me that feels very sorry for Vettel as I do think he is a nice guy…BUT…it simply isn’t cricket and I really don’t see a way back for him as people have long memories. I do think he know the difference between right and wrong as his body language betrayed him after the Malaysia race and he looked as if he’d just nicked Webber’s sweets. It’s the Baby Schumi show from now on in though – but he can’t quite pull it off like the Master!

  42. Igor, 2 July 2013 15:42

    Innapropriate? HELL NO. What’s so innapropriate about disliking someone? Its not like he crashed or got hurt or God forbid died. We were just happy he finished the race. We hate the guy because of his personality, arrogance and Red Bull herritage. Most F1 fans want to see actual car-manufactuer teams win. Not energy drinks like Red Bull. Not saying this is the only reason but it definitely is one of them.

    Im sick and tired of this guy always having good luck with safety cars and all the controversy surrounding him and his team. Plus not to mention he’s “buying” his way onto a level of great drivers such as Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Keke, etc. I’m not a fan of his PG-rated driving and persona. He’s like a spoiled brat and everything’s just handed to him.

  43. Rob, 2 July 2013 15:44

    I also cheered when Hamilton had the blow out.

  44. Paul, 2 July 2013 15:58

    Personally I find Vettell arrogant and annoying. If you’ve ever seen him in the drivers press conference he spends the whole time whispering to whoever is sat next to him and sniggering and it appears lately that he also feels the need to answer any question put to him in a sarcastic manner. He seems to be getting more like Schumacher every day. Also, as noticed by a few others, why when he knew his car was finished did he drive past some 40 acres of grass and run off areas to park on the pit straight not even close to the side of the track? Is he that important now that he can park where he likes with no regard to the other competitors so he doesn’t have to walk too far? I didn’t boo when he went out, I was too busy laughing. Long may his bad luck continue.

  45. Michael Spitale, 2 July 2013 16:05

    The British media can be one sided through the years when it comes to who they like and dislike. Yes, Webber is one they seem to love regardless. The part that I just can’t figure out is how they all love Alonso and absolve him of all of his nasty stuff, but hate Vettel? and trust me, Alonso has done lots of nasty stuff through the years.

    Last year they had Jody Schechter on and he said he does not respect Alonso… I thought the others might pass out during the podcast. In fact they did not even print what Jody said when the magazine came out and they reprinted the podcast…

    I like Vettel a lot. No one is perfect and yes the “finger” is a bit much. However, he is the fastest man in F1. Period.

  46. Matt, 2 July 2013 16:06

    I only dislike Vettel for the reason he just doesn’t shut the f*** up! Blah, blah, blah…

  47. Richard Craig, 2 July 2013 16:12

    @Rob – as did I.

  48. Dave Cubbedge, 2 July 2013 16:17

    Watching racing since 1967, I have lived through my share of up and down fan moments.

    Many times it’s like a love affair. After the new wears off and the job of winning becomes more ordinary, I tend to search for someone else, if any at all. (Not to say I’m looking for my wife’s replacement!)

    For instance, I was a big Lauda fan in the mid-70s, but when he made his comeback I was less so, perhaps because new, younger drivers had stepped up to fill the role. It was the same for me with Stewart, Prost, Senna and Schumacher. I can respect their ability, but it doesn’t mean I am happy when they win.

    There was a period in the 80s when my group of friends would come over to watch F1 and the saying of the day was “ABS – Anybody But Senna!”

    Back in ’67 I was so hoping for Parnelli Jones to win that years’ Indy in the turbine car that I became an ‘anti-fan’ of AJ Foyt for at least a decade! And these days I fully recognize AJ as one of the all-time greats from this country.

    Vet’s retirement from the Brit GP was just what that race needed to make it interesting. Of course I cheered! Ruined a good nap though!

  49. Ray In Toronto, Canada (Ray T (The other one)), 2 July 2013 17:12

    This (rather sub-par-bordering-on-dog-poor) article was unwortthy of comment – until “Canada” was brought up in the thread.

    Let me just make one thing clear, OK?

    Not *all* the fans under the Montreal podium are Canadians or representative of Canadians. There are many (vocal) fans from the UK, the rest of the Americas. Europe and even the Antipodean countries. Trust me, I’ve been in close proximity of that podium after our Grands Prix on more than a few occassions.

    Quebec, especially, is a hot bed of Ferrari fans, dating back to Gilles’ time and Quebecers don’t like it when Vettel beats Ferraris to Championships. Period. There are also a lot of Hamilton and British fans who make their way to Montreal.

    So…Look no further than Hamilton-loving Brits and Ferrari-loving Quebecers and other nationals for the boos after the Canadian GP.

    Kindly leave us “Canadians” out of this one, please.

    The behaviour of the British crowd when Vettel slowed was dog poor…as is this article.

    How about a proper article worthy of Motor Sport Magazine next time, Mr Frankel?

    I know you have it well within you. In spades!


    If anyone thinks any of the very top F1 driver wouldn’t have done and said what Vettel did and say in and after the Malaysian GP, then they’re in La La Land and I can only help them by calling the men in white uniforms.

    Webber would have done the same thing. He did do and say exactly that at mid season, 2011.

  50. AJ Ball, 2 July 2013 17:15

    I doubt many of the cheers were personal it’s just people want their heroes to have to battle adversity and winning 3 titles on the trot in the fastest car before he’s even in his late twenties means Vettel is now playing the smarmy invincible villain in a the F1 soap opera. If his car fails a few more times and he doesn’t win the title people will start to get behind him again because he’s having to battle. The best thing he could do to get support would be to do what Schumacher did – move to a struggling team and turn that around.

    @Dave Cubbedge
    I can remember for a long time having an ‘Anyone but Castroneves’ when watching the Indy 500′ – it was just something about that unbelievably lucky 2002 Indy 500 win combined with that slightly phoney seeming chirpy chappy persona was just annoying.

  51. A.S. Gilbert, 2 July 2013 18:35

    It’s been obvious since that BMW drive at Indy, that Vettel has exceptional native talent. Quick, great qualifier and when in position, mostly seals the deal.
    He interviews with wit, and seeming candour too.
    However, in the drivers room after races, pre podium, there is a distinct lack of easy banter when Vettel’s about. Virtually unique in chill.
    Great sportsmen are aware of all facets in their competitions game. This is not overt jealousy with SV, its more fundamental than that.
    I agree with the arrogance and entitlement theory.
    That, and the silver spoon aspects, that’s it’s all seems a silky rise for Seb.
    Mansell mortgaged his house, broke his neck, drove mealy gear to attain his position of dominance. Combined with ripping drives through the field often enough, he bloody well earned and was respected for it.
    That’s what’s missing in character here, and the “bandwagon” aspect of his fan base, rub the wrong way.
    Vettel’s a great driver, no question, but not yet a complete racer, and still an unknown factor under true adversity.
    In stat’s Vettel may be parallel with Sir Jackie Stewart, but in career achievement, not on the same planet !

  52. Edd, 2 July 2013 18:47

    I remember exactly the same reaction also at Club in the early 90′s when Senna parked his McLaren in the closing laps of the race. Plenty of people loved him but his rivalry with Mansell was at it’s height.

  53. Mikey, 2 July 2013 18:55

    The sight of cheering, baying supporters was indeed unsporting and disappointing. I was not upset to see the Red Bull retire. About time, too. It might even help even up the Championship a bit.
    I am not a fan of SV but neither do I wish him ill. I do not care for his sulky mien in minor adversity or overtly triumphal digit when claiming pole. He obviously hasn’t read his Kipling.
    That he is the number one in his team, there can be little doubt and that probably extends to de facto Team Principal.
    No amount of jeering will beat him. Certainly, car failures and bad luck will help. What is needed is a car/driver combination that is his equal. There’s the glitch – quite a few good drivers, not so many really good cars.

  54. jaap blijleven, 2 July 2013 19:50

    Motorsport PLEASE stop making articles like this. It’s like reading some cheap tabloid. Everybody has his own favorites and uses double standards to justify behaviour of her/his hero.

    Let’s stick to MOTORSPORT articles.


  55. frank butcher, 2 July 2013 20:19

    I hate Vettel because he has DRS on his car!

  56. Bill, 2 July 2013 20:54

    Last year I met people who hated Jenson Button because he was so ‘arrogant to take his side of the garage out to dinner, clearly conspiring against Hamilton’.

    To each their own I guess :)

    At least Paul Fearnley had the decency to admit his reservations about Vettel were on a gut feeling rather than facts.

    I wonder if Frankel has the same backbone and admit he did not for a moment think back at that 2011 British GP post-race press conference – where Mark Webber stated the exact same words Vettel uttered a few months ago – when he wrote this rather peculiar and unfair article.

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  57. Jimbo, 2 July 2013 21:16

    I have no real problem with Andrew’s column, and it’s quite possible that it’s broadly correct. But articles like these online (especially) do smack of trying to generate excess comment on purpose, as that’s what a website/blog needs – to generate traffic to drive revenue…

  58. Tony G, 2 July 2013 23:08

    The fickle finger of fate waves again. Did you notice that the podium winners refer to SV as “Michael”? When I heard that he had gearbox problems I presumed Red Bull must have given him Webber’s gearbox !!!!

  59. John B, 2 July 2013 23:16

    People have seen through the smiling schoolboy facade. I can tolerate the finger but I do believe that the combination of Marko, and the golden child have simply become too much to take. Yes the guy can drive but the baggage…

  60. Joris, 2 July 2013 23:23

    I don’t think the Malaysian incident is as big a part of it as you think, I’m pretty sure that people booed him before then. Problem is, he comes across as very self-entitled when he’s loosing, like demanding that Red Bull move Webber out of the way in Malaysia, or demanding that the team do something when he couldn’t pass Button at Hungary 2012. Also, I personally thought it was disrespectful of him to get in Paul Hembry’s face in Spa 2011 when (presumably) he and the team went beyond Pirelli’s suggested limits.
    Besides, why is it unacceptable for people to boo a driver? It happened all the time to Prost & Piquet, and everyone seems fine with that, so why when people boo Vettel is it a bad thing?

  61. John Sullivan, 3 July 2013 00:03

    The British press have been rousing the rabble against Vettel for years now, so it’s a bit much for them to turn around and write stories about the roused rabble as if they had nothing to do with it. To be clear, the coverage of Vettel has been spectacularly slanted at best, and has frequently been spectacularly dishonest.

  62. John Sullivan, 3 July 2013 00:13

    Calling Vettel “Lucky” makes as much sense as calling him “Lofty”. He’s had far, FAR more bad luck than any of the other top drivers over the last few years. He’s had several times more mechanical retirements than Alonso, Hamilton, Button, or even Webber.

    Hamilton got lucky with safety cars on Sunday, but I don’t see people rabbiting on about it incessantly.

  63. Alex Milligan, 3 July 2013 01:05

    Like many, many Brits, when Senna was alive I cheered on Mansell and have to admit to developing a myopic bias against Senna in his prime.
    How I wish I could turn back time, for as wonderful and heartlifting it was to watch the many scruff of the neck Mansell drives, the sheer skill and artistry of Senna is a rare talent indeed and his loss is still felt to this day.
    I share similar feelings for SV. I expect him to look back with a shade of regret on how he is perceived and received by the public and hoipefully will recognise that some of his comments and gestures are gauche at best. However, he is a talent to be relished and appreciated whilst he is a Formula 1 driver and the reality is that the others have to strive and excel to match or dare I say beat him.

  64. Dario, 3 July 2013 03:00

    I don’t think the jeers were inappropriate.

    This is the one time fans have a chance to immediately and personally express their opinion of Vettel, right to his face. How else would you do it that would matter. On some forum? As a comment to a news article? Does he even read any of that stuff? I know I wouldn’t.

    So this is the fans’ forum. One shouldn’t take that away from them.

  65. IMPERATORE, 3 July 2013 04:14

    The British fans did exactly what I and many others did at that moment, I don’t see what the problem is. Its clear he is the pure #1 driver in the team, he has the best car for the lost 5 years and has won his championships because of rock solid reliability and Adrian Newey’s mega fast creations. To me Vettle is a big baby only concerned with winning as many races as possible, he has no will to jump into an sub par car and make them a winner like Shumi did. That’s the difference, to me its pretty clear why the Brits booed him and I applaud them for it!

  66. IM, 3 July 2013 07:16

    I’m not convinced that Vettel is a “great”. Over the last couple of decades the best driver in Adrian Newey’s team has tended to win a lot of races. He’s clearly faster than Webber butthat is all we are seeing at the moment.

  67. David Goddard, 3 July 2013 08:46

    I’m amazed that no-one has taken Vettel aside and pointed out to him that his forefinger is situated next to his middle finger which, if raised, would produce a sign whose meaning is internationally recognised … And it is precisely this meaning which his ugly gesture puts people in mind of. And – deep joy – I see that is has now infected other racing categories too.

    Yes, arrogant, petulant and, by the way, the producer of quite a few nasty on-track manoeuvres. Not an asset to the sport. In this house we’re still cheering.

  68. Charles Norman, 3 July 2013 09:45

    Having read the article above several times i find it hard to understand why the Sebastian Vettel supporters amongst us should take such exception to the words written by Mr Frankel.

    Firstly he merely surmises as to why the crowd reacted the way they did last Sunday afternoon. He then in no way condoned what took place, in fact he is pretty adamant that he was not party to it. So why the vitriol towards the guy?

    I would also like to say why is there so much anti British comment issued by those that support Sebastian? Although I myself am British I have long since lived in mainland Europe and can tell you that every country has its partisan nature, which can be displayed aggressively at certain times.

    The British as a nation are known for their somewhat ironic sense of humour, and above all else a sense of fair play. It is the latter I feel that came into play at Silverstone. Of course no one will actually know as a Straw Poll has not been conducted with the spectators at the British Grand Prix.

    One final thing; it appears that arrogance and ruthlessness are a prerequisite to being a great champion in todays world. What utter rubbish! Class and magnanimity are what make for a great champion; two such examples Jim Clark and Juan Fangio.

  69. James Allen, 3 July 2013 10:04

    Article is way off the mark, if you read Brundle’s column for Sky Sports what the crowd was telling him was specifically for Malaysia – Multi21.

    As someone has mentioned, it is his unattractive sense of entitlement. From telling the team to get Webber out of the way to robbing him of a deserved win to removing his front wing at Silverstone. People dislike unsporting athletes (drug cheats etc.) full stop. Vettel has talent and consistency to burn and everyone recognises his skills, but he has already burned his legacy with his actions and the actions of the team.

    It’s the character of the driver. We all recognise his supreme talents in the car but as a sportsman he is not very sporting and that is the the crux of it. Nationality is just a poor excuse for it. I couldn’t care less if the guy was English (Paul di Resta comes to mind as a douche) or Ethiopian, American, Asian etc. if he comes off as an arrogant, self entitled tosser then why would you in general like him as a person let support them as a driver?

  70. Joe B, 3 July 2013 10:05

    Turkey 2010 was the moment I started to dislike the guy, and no amount of PR-friendly acting takes away from his actions in the heat of the moment. Sure, the guy has talent, but his sense of entitlement is bigger.

    This article misses the point though; very few people would say now that Vettel isn’t a quality driver, but the level of his success is widely perceived as extremely fortituitous (and that’s putting it kindly). You’d be hard pressed to find an objective fan who didn’t believe Alonso to be the best driver of 2012, and 2011 was a Newey/EBD powered joke (the punchline being Canada). Putting the crowd’s reaction down to simply the Malaysia race, when there’s so many more reasons that Vettel is disliked being overlooked here, is simplistic to say the least.

  71. Johnnie, 3 July 2013 11:17

    Even before Malaysia, and possibly since Turkey 2010, I found Vettel to be a bit arrogant and classless. The crowd’s reaction from both Montreal and Silverstone both increased my faith that other fellow racing fans share the same opinion.

    The crowd’s reaction reminds me that there was one other time in auto racing where there were drivers’ success was booed upon and failures greatly cheered: NASCAR from 1995-1999 with the Dale Earnhardt / Jeff Gordon / Rusty Wallace rivalry. Whenever one of the three drivers won, their fans were greatly elated with all others saying they were “lucky” to win. Yet, if one of them would fall out early by car trouble or, even worse, a crash, then the cheering would be heard over the roar of the engines. Now Formula One has come into this stage then.

  72. René Claus, 3 July 2013 11:19

    Personally, I think to truly enjoy sport, any sport, you should be very biased, maybe even unreasonably biased from time to time. It is just part of the fun and passion.

    I remember my first visit to Monza in 1989. Me and my mates were on the infield of the Parabolica,our noses against the fence, when with only 10 laps to go, Ayrton Senna’s engine blew and he lost his McLaren right in front of us. The roar and cheering of the tifosi that followed was just fantastic. We where squeezed against the fence, people where going crazy. As a Ferrari fan myself, this memory still gives me goosebumps. The Italians were delirious with joy that Senna lost and fresh signed Ferrari driver Prost won and the ‘real’ Ferrari of Berger came second. Was that inappropriate? I don’t think so.

    Had Senna driven a Ferrari, the tifosi would’ve adored him. Just imagine Vettel signing a surpise contract with Williams and bringing them back to the top, I am sure the majority of the Brits would cheer for him and so they should. So did I when the villain Schumacher signed for Ferrari and started winning… no logic here, just passion ;-)

  73. C C, 3 July 2013 11:59

    Not the best article really.

    Face it, its just Pantomime, nothing more than that, and nothing sinister either, and Sport is all the better for it. There’s not many who ‘hate’ Vettel, but most people like to see the number one driver have a failure to A) spice up the Championship and B) because he is the most succesful driver out there at the moment, meaning its always good to see the number 1 being knocked off their perch on occasion.

    The Italian fans love it too, and they love it even more if the Driver concerned takes it all in good spirit and heads over to sign some autographs. I’ve seen it on TV many a time – Alonso in his Renault or Hakkinen / Coulthard / Button in the McLarens at Monza having an engine blow-out and the crowd going wild. Give them a wave and a smile, take it in good humour and get your autograph pen out.

    Nationality has nothing to do with it. The number 1 Driver could be from anywhere, and the cheers for good and bad things come with the territory of being number 1.

  74. Bill, 3 July 2013 12:07

    @ Charles Norman: Why the outrage over this article? Because Frankel suggest the crowd was angry because Vettel said at Malaysia hed do it again (ignore teamorders) when in fact Mark Webber said and did exactly the same 2 years ago at the 2011 British GP. No public outrage, and certainly no Andrew Frankel articles how Webber poisoned his likeability.

    ” The Australian said he had received “probably four or five” messages from the team asking him not to attack Vettel, but declined to follow them.

    Asked how he felt about the team orders, Webber replied: “I am not fine with it, no. That is the answer to that.

    “If Fernando [Alonso] retires on the last lap, we are fighting for the win.

    “Of course I ignored the team because I wanted to try and get a place. Seb was doing his best, I was doing my best. I wasn’t going to crash with anyone.

    “I try to do my best with the amount of one way conversation I was having – I was trying to do my best to pass the guy in front.”

    Given this fact, omitted from Frankels article, makes it an ordinary sanctimonious Vettel bash, even if he condones the jeering last sunday. If you vilify Vettel for those words, you should do the same with Webber. If not, at least be a man and admit you just dont like Vettel for whatever reason.

  75. Ray In Toronto, Canada (Ray T (The other one)), 3 July 2013 12:48

    Niether does the article mention that Webber was driving for Ferrari – especially his friend, Alonso – at the finale’ at Interlagos last year! Flavio Briatore’ even said so, tounge-in-cheek, and it was clear for anywone with eyes to see.

    That chop from Mark at the first bend was what caused Vettel to nearly exit the race with Senna – and nearly cost him a Championship.

    This point was mentioned and written about in the aftermath of Malaysia-Multi 21. Shame it’s been conveniently forgotten here.

    You reap what you sow.

    Re Malaysia: Vettel took Pole, saved tires, was faster and passed Webber who fought him tooth and nail. So, why did Webber “deserve” the win?

    People can go on and on about Jimmy Clark and Juan Fangio and Sir Stirling. That was an entirely different era. An entirely different world.

    That world changed somewhere between Monza 1979 (where Gilles remained loyal) and Imola 1982 (where Gilles was betrayed).

    Since then, Formula 1 has never been what it was and never will be.

    No Top driver worth the name would follow Orders at race 2. Heck, even Reutemann (who had such a clause in his contract) didn’t follow orders from Williams at Rio in 1981.

    This idea that someone faster should be ordered to hold back from winning only the second race of the season (when the Championship is WIDE OPEN) is the least “sporting” thing of this particular affair.


  76. David Goddard, 3 July 2013 13:30

    Even in this “modern era” of F1, it is still possible to win the world title while remaining an honourable sportsman. Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button spring most readily to mind. And Vettel most definitely does not have their class.

  77. John W, 3 July 2013 14:22

    So where and when did Webber disobey team orders? I remember him talking about them, and I remember him being clearly faster than Golden Balls at some racetrack or other when he’d been told to hold station, but I don’t seem to recall him actually disobeying team orders by passing Vettel. Maybe I was asleep for that bit.

  78. Ray In Toronto, Canada (Ray T (The other one)), 3 July 2013 14:33


    What about Alonso?

    Where was Fernando’s “class” or ‘honour’ in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012?

    At least Webber didn’t have his seal purposely broken for a 5 place grid drop like Massa did at Austin!

    Let’s get one fact straight about the front wing at Silverstone…Webber tried it and didn’t think it was an improvement. It wasn’t “taken” from him.

    O, and where was Jenson’s ‘honour’ and ‘sportsmanship’ when he mugged Hamilton for the lead in Turkey in 2010 when Hamilton was told to save fuel and, as a result, was assured Jenson wouldn’t pass him. In addition, Jenson has often said he’s driving for “himself”.

    And Hamilton? He was found guilty of lying to stewards in Australia, etc. It’s not like he’s been innocent. Go back to Hungary Q3 Fuel Burn phase, for instance.

    These are the types of drivers Vettel is up against.

    Vettel has been a Saint in relation to Alonso. But how quickly people have forgotten the shenanigans Alonso’s been involved in.

    I suspect it all comes down to personal bias and which drivers you like and how often they’re winning or losing. That’s the gist of this entire thread to me.

  79. Ray In Toronto, Canada (Ray T (The other one)), 3 July 2013 14:37

    John W,

    Yes, you were asleep. LOL :)

    Webber disobeyed 4 or 5 instructions at Silverstone and admitted so.

    Sadly, he wasn’t fast enough to pass Vettel, try as hard as might.

    Therein lay the difference.

  80. Gav, 3 July 2013 15:57

    “John” below summed phrased it perfectly, Vettel is a bad winner. I was at the race and was one of those people cheering when his car gave up. My admiration and respect for all the drivers is massive however my attitude towards Vettel’s misfortune is simply a desire to see some variety to the winners sheet and keep the championship as close as possible. The man comes across as very intelligent with a decent sense of humour and is always a joy to watch or read during interviews. I believe the crowd simply want to see his grasp of the championship lessen before the 2014 regs. This also has nothing to do with nationality. The cheers for Nico’s win as well as the job Sutil put in were thunderous.

  81. John Sullivan, 3 July 2013 16:07

    Joe B “the level of his success is widely perceived as extremely fortituitous”

    Anyone who believes that is simply ignorant of F1. The reality is that Vettel has been extremely unlucky over the last several years. He’ has suffered far more breakdowns that than any other driver in a top team – the one on Sunday was just the latest in a long line. Alonso has been in contention in 2010 and 2012 purely due to Vettel’s bad luck and his own good luck, not because of any inspired driving on his own part.

    And we are currently in the most car-equal era in the entire history of F1. SV’s car are essentially identical in performance to those of his competitors. Which cannot be said of Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Lauda, Stewart, Clark, or Fangio, all of who usually did have an immense technical edge over their rivals in their WDC winnings years.

  82. Charles Norman, 3 July 2013 16:29

    Perfectly summed up in a mere three lines David; pure class sir!

    John W. I had a feeling you would stir up a “Hornets Nest” with that comment. I have been down that route myself and it is like talking to treacle. I find it such a shame that a genuine decent straight talking guy like Mark Webber gets muddied by those who wish to justify their heroes actions.

  83. Bill, 3 July 2013 16:32

    @ John W: read the comments.

    And it wasnt even Silverstone 2011 alone, what made Vettel say he would do it again, I think you only have to rerun the last race of 2012 why Vettel said that Webber ‘didnt deserve it’.

    Im as big a Webber fan as any, but lets not pretend Vettel did that Malaysian one out of the blue to play ‘michael schumacher’. These guys have a history.

    And the true fans, of course, know this.

    The one day flies only see a British GP, with a German triple champ at age 25, stealing away the limelight and chasing Hamilton out of the historybooks, with a broken gearbox slowing down and losing an almost certain win, inherited from the self declared grandson of Mandela, and then get even more whipped up by a column of Andrew Frankel, whos F1 history knowledge apparently doesnt seem to go back further than Malaysia 2013. Its this motorsport magazine unworthy imo.

  84. Bill, 3 July 2013 16:51

    David Goddard”Even in this “modern era” of F1, it is still possible to win the world title while remaining an honourable sportsman. Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button spring most readily to mind. And Vettel most definitely does not have their class.”"

    - Damon Hill: Screamed to teamboss Eddie Jordan that he didnt want to race Ralf, and if he could please implement teamorders
    - Mika Hakkinen – Inherited 2 straight wins, one of them the season opener in Melbroune 1998. Had DC used as test guinnea pig for many wet races, notably Silverstone 2001
    - Jenson Button: the anointed one, according to Rubens Barrichello in 2009
    - Kimi Raikonen: had Grosjean given the ‘Romain, Kimi is faster than you, do you understand?’ only last sunday.

    Yeah, they are all so much more class than Vettel. Not.

  85. MemeGtr, 3 July 2013 17:35

    “..the Baby Schumi show .. ” (as said by Rob Christoph) I think that pretty much sums it up..

  86. David Goddard, 3 July 2013 18:07

    “..inheritance, anointment …” Metaphor, come to facts.

  87. David Goddard, 3 July 2013 18:58

    Bill, my apologies : having re-read your entry I see that you have fully factually backed up your assertions. I was too hasty in my response, and I will now increase my dosage of anti-Victor Meldrew medication.

    Still, reviewing all the above, it’s great to witness the passion and enthusiasm that our sport continues to generate.

  88. The Original Ray T, 3 July 2013 20:04

    That applause from the British crowd reminded me of when they applauded when Michael Schumacher crashed and broke his leg in 1999, to which Murray Walker said he felt embarrassed to be British.

    Here’s the reality: people love to hate over-achievers, and while there are many supporters for Webber, he has consistently not even been close to Vettel’s pace and perfection. How can you hate the guy? He isn’t even close to the level of poor sportsmanship of Schumacher, and he is a perfect match for Newey’s excellence in design.

    Vettel will very likely win the 2013 championship, because he deserves to.

  89. Bill, 3 July 2013 20:18

    @ John W: read the comments.

    And it wasnt even Silverstone 2011 alone, what made Vettel say he would do it again, I think you only have to rerun the last race of 2012 why Vettel said that Webber ‘didnt deserve it’.

    Im as big a Webber fan as any, but lets not pretend Vettel did that Malaysian one out of the blue to play ‘michael schumacher’. These guys have a history.

    And the true fans, of course, know this.

    The one day flies only see a British GP, with a German triple champ at age 25, stealing away the limelight and chasing Hamilton out of the historybooks, with a broken gearbox slowing down and losing an almost certain win, and then get even more whipped up by a column of Andrew Frankel, whos F1 history knowledge apparently doesnt seem to go back further than Malaysia 2013. Its this motorsport magazine unworthy imo.

    @david, I hadnt even mentioned Button going back on a deal with Williams, to stay at Honda, a team that got a 2 race ban for cheating. Or go and see his class at this years Bahrain GP, where he shoved Perez off the track after brake testing him, and moaning on the radio. You see, in f1 there are no saints. Lets not burn Vettel and pretend there are.

  90. Rich Ambroson, 3 July 2013 21:24

    “Don’t mention the war”…

    It’s amazing, there are other “top” drivers who have behaved terribly the last few years, including towards their teammates, and yet they don’t seem to generate as much antipathy as Vettel does. Hamilton called other drivers “monkeys” at Monaco in ’07, told his team boss to “swivel” the same year; insinuated that the Monaco stewards were racist in 2011, and many many more.

    Yet the anti-Vettel sentiment has spawned 86 comments on this article alone.

    Confusing. I suppose.

    “Don’t mention the war.”

  91. Patrick Byrne, 3 July 2013 23:00

    What I have come to dislike about Vettel is hard to explain.
    The finger, – yes; Multi 21 and the refusal of RB management to censure – certainly.

    Mostly though, I think he’s false. His early professions of affection for British culture did him no harm with the press – and didn’t seem to ring too false. But now it seems he’s also ingratiated himself with Bernie – to an extraordinary degree. Clever, perhaps but not really admirable.

    Also, his obsession with with stats and particularly fastest laps…what’s that about? They are probably the most meaningless criteria for judging a driver but it seems he just wants to (as Senna once said) ‘make the numbers bigger and bigger’. A la Schumi I believe he genuinely has no interest in proving himself against equal drivers – it’s all about the numbers. Very Germanic – not an Anglophile at all…

    So…Ricciardo – is he the next Barrichello?

  92. David H, 4 July 2013 03:10

    Thanks for your writing Mr. Frankel, good for you, obviously touched a nerve. For myself (not British) the nationality thing does not mean anything, but can see it being a wider issue.

    Happen to be reading Jenks’ wonderful book just now and came upon his quote below today and thought of Nigel Roebuck’s sometimes remarking “What would Jenks think….”

    “For me, the most important thing is ‘how’ a driver wins a race, not the mere fact that he has won”

  93. David H, 4 July 2013 03:20

    Funny thought to lighten things up…. Could’ve just asked us each to preface our post on whether we more admire a Villeneuve/Moss or a Schumacher

  94. John W, 4 July 2013 04:34

    Ray T, I must admit that my memory of Silverstone 2011 (which is when I presume that Webber is supposed to have disobeyed team orders) was that Webber nibbled at the back of Vettel’s car a few times to show he was clearly faster, but ultimately held station behind him, as ordered by the team. You may interpret that as Webber being not fast enough to overtake Vettel, but the fact remains that Webber remained behind Vettel. Therefore he didn’t disobey team orders. The whole situation is similar to Rosberg and Hamilton at Malaysia, where Rosberg made it clear that he was faster than his team mate but stayed behind him as requested.

  95. Alex Milligan, 4 July 2013 07:54

    Bill – do you actually enjoy F1 at all??? You seem to have so many negative memories and comments to make………These guys are all self obsessed professionals – who have signed contracts to drive for an employing team. Ultimately they have to comply with their contracts otherwise they could be held in breach of agreement and sanctioned or ultimately find themselves out of a job.
    All except SV of course……..seems he can get away with ANYTHING!!!!!

  96. Slavec, 4 July 2013 09:44

    “inappropriate” ??

    We, the fans, cannot impose fines, deduct points, ban race drivers or apply time penalties or drive-thru’s… so we BOOOOO. No matter who you are, how many titles you ‘won’… Us fans have the prerogative to cheer or to boo… you should know that as a journalist/reporter.

    ironic, not so log ago, a lord could consume your wife before you got married to her… talking about inappropriate…

  97. Charles Norman, 4 July 2013 09:45

    John W, I would say that this post race interview with Mr Horner pretty well sums up the whole thing and clearly illustrates his total lack of control over Sebastian. Mark was obviously faster as SV had a car issue but still he wasn’t allowed past. The most damning comment being that if he had tried they would “have ended up in the wall”, similarities there with Turkey.

    Note also the unease of Mr Horner when questioned about Mark being out of the championship as a result of being told to hold station.

  98. L, 4 July 2013 10:30

    Agree with holding Seb to different standard than others, and press share blame for vitriol.

    Sepang context important: Silverstone 2011 + Mark’s comments & Brazil 2012. Mark’s move at start, squeezing Seb, forcing lift and lose of places. No one else on Mark’s side of the grid took that line, shocking can only imagine what team thought. Least expected in WDC finale, don’t hinder teammate.

    Brazil largely ignored during reporting of Sepang, as was clarification from team of no pre-race deal beyond standard (all races): team reserves the right to impose orders (via codes) if they see fit.

    Re fans, Seb still appeared at the post race party this year, and has rep for staying far longer than most at signing sessions.

  99. Joe B, 4 July 2013 11:17

    @John Sullivan – Definitely not ignorant of F1. SV was stellar in 2010, even with Turkey and Spa, and turned in a championship against tough opposition despite his car failures. If he’d lost that year, it would’ve been like Raikkonen in 2003 – deserving but unfortunate. The thing is, through a combination of team support, a car advantage (when it went the distance) and rivals who couldn’t seem to finish the job themselves, he did win it.

    You say this is the most equal era you can think of in car terms – SV was gifted in 2011 by the superiority of the Red Bull. Webber never got on with blown diffusers (look at the 2012 points standings before RBR worked out a way around the diffuser), and so Vettel never had a legitimate challenge. Call it what you want, I’d say for an F1 driver that’s pretty fortunate. Fair enough though, that’s two titles – someone has to drive the class cars of the field.

    2012 was the killer though. SV looked fairly average, and was being led by MW in the standings, until RB developed the car into a front runner. Even then though, it took the flukiest race I have ever seen by any driver ever (Abu Dhabi, in case you missed it) for him to win the title, and he still then survived his crash with Senna in Brazil (race-ending nine times out of ten).

    I’m not saying he’s not a good driver – I said it before, and he is; I’d put him second behind Alonso and very similar to Raikkonen on the current grid – but the numbers flatter him. If Hamilton had Vettel’s luck last year, we’d be looking at a grid with three double champs, easily.

  100. Fritz Minhard, 4 July 2013 12:11

    What he got, is what he deserved. I am Austrian and I do not like him. He is a spoilt little boy who has Dr. Marko´s support.
    He has no character and is the same primadonna as Senna and Schuhmacher were! And what he did in Turkey 2010 and in Sepang 2013 shows he has no character.
    Thank you to the Silverstone audience to cheer him, I wish I could have been there to cheer as well.

  101. Bill, 4 July 2013 12:50

    @ David H: Did Nigel Roebuck really quote that? Amazing. This is what Nigel said right after that Melbourne 1998 race, where the entire crowd booed the drivers off the podium for not racing: ‘The fans need to understand McLaren only came to Melbourne with one thing on their minds: to win the race as consumately as possible’ and more McLaren defending. So much for the ‘how a driver wins a race that counts’ principle. One more for the book of double standards of Mr Roebuck, I guess…

    @ John W (I reckon you adressed that one to me): Webber did not hold station, he was fighting Vettel. Not only that, he admitted that in the post race press conference, and said hed do it again, precisely the crux of Frankel’s theory why the crowd doesnt love Vettel. I posted his quotes a little further up.

    @ Alex Milligan: sure I love the sport, and am a big fan of Button, despite his sometimes shady past. You write they have to adhere contracts, well thats exactly what Button didnt do with Williams. I just dont subscribe to the good driver/bad driver routine wich seem to exist amongst some fans. They all have good sides and bad sides. Compared to others, Vettel doesnt stand out at all.

    To me the Vettel animosity only comes from the fact that he isnt British, but a German, and a damn succesful one, who is kicking the British golden boy out of the history books.

  102. Nic Maennling, 4 July 2013 19:20

    He brought it entirely upon himself despite some opinions to the contrary. No one likes players who break team rules and no one likes a winner to stick a finger in the face of the fans. A gentleman he is not.

  103. Rich Ambroson, 4 July 2013 19:24

    I see that Vettel was compared with previous “prima donnas” such as Senna and Schumacher. I won’t argue those two being noted as such; I wonder why Nico’s current teammate wasn’t called out as such as well. Hamilton’s behavior since Ron Dennis brought him into F1 has been nothing short of that title.

  104. Bill, 4 July 2013 20:57

    @ Nic: you must really hate Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button too then?

    The finger from Rubens:

    And another one:

    Jenson Button: not one, but both his index fingers!! Oh, the arrogant man!

  105. Philip Grice, 4 July 2013 23:58

    I didn’t like Senna. I absolutely hate Schumacher still. Now I can’t stand Vettel. All are or were great driving talents. All are or were awful sportsmen. Had I been on the receiving end of their dirty driving tactics I would have definitely punched them in the nose afterwards. In my book there is no room for driving someone off the track and no room for breaking commitments to team members.

    There’s a reason people venerate Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Ronnie Peterson, Jackie Stewart and others. They lived by honest rules and clean driving while winning against strong competition. If they couldn’t win cleanly they applauded those that beat them when they did.

    It’s so sad that great driving talents such as Senna, Schumacher and Vettel had or have a “win at any cost” attitude. In my book that makes them losers.

  106. John Sullivan, 5 July 2013 02:06

    “No one likes players who break team rules”

    Webber has constantly broken team rules, and far from being abused for it, he has been applauded for it.

  107. John Sullivan, 5 July 2013 02:26

    Joe B “You say this is the most equal era you can think of in car terms – SV was gifted in 2011 by the superiority of the Red Bull.”

    Which has nothing to do with the fact that this is the most car equal era in the history of F1. That 2011 RB was not in the least bit “superior” by the historical standards of F1. Most WDC winners drove cars which were far more “superior”

    “(In 2010) through a combination of team support, a car advantage (when it went the distance) and rivals who couldn’t seem to finish the job themselves, he did win it.”

    Even assuming all that is true, how is it supposed to be even slightly different from any other WDC winner?

    “2012 was the killer though. SV looked fairly average”

    You have a very funny idea of “fairly average”! SV was leading the WDC after six races and was second in the standings after 12 races. And he was only second after 12 races because of an engine failure while leading the races (again!) in Valencia. But for that he’d have led the season almost the entire way. Fairly average? Don’t make me laugh.

    “until RB developed the car into a front runner.”

    Did they really? Odd how MW’s car never looked like a front-runner, only SV’s. This is the same old lame “when SV does well it’s all the car” excuse” which people have been repeating for years now in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

    “If Hamilton had Vettel’s luck last year”

    Hamilton DID have Vettel’s (rotten) luck last year. This difference is Vettel overcame it and Hamilton did not.

  108. John Sullivan, 5 July 2013 02:37

    “Mark was obviously faster as SV had a car issue but still he wasn’t allowed past.”

    You must regard Mark Webber as a incorrigible liar than, because HE has insisted that he ignored team orders and did everything he could to get past, not the he “wasn’t allowed” past.

  109. John Sullivan, 5 July 2013 02:48

    “Note also the unease of Mr Horner when questioned about Mark being out of the championship as a result of being told to hold station.”

    Ignoring for the moment the fact that Webber blatantly IGNORED the orders to hold station, Webber was “out of the championship” because at that point he had won zero races while Vettlel had won six of the first eight and finished second in the other two. Webber was “out of the championship” due his own inferior driving and not due to any dirty tricks by anybody else.

  110. John Sullivan, 5 July 2013 03:00

    “Personally I find Vettell arrogant and annoying.”

    Then God only knows what you must think of Lewis “I think I’ll create a museum to celebrate my own wonderfulness” Hamilton.

  111. Dave Cubbedge, 5 July 2013 15:33

    Well done Mr. Frankel, you’ve raised the blood pressure of many of your faithful readers by this article, which I didn’t find offensive, stupid, or any of the other things dished out here. I rather liked it, but of course everybody here knows I come from the “Anybody but Vettel” side of the grandstand, so I’m having a good laugh at those of you who need to chill. The kid is going to win 100 races and ten titles before he disappears, so SV fans. please relax. Guys who win too much always have their share of dissenters. We are all still race fans, I think….?

    In 1980 I went to my first NASCAR race, which happened to be the Firecracker 400 at Daytona. I wanted a hat-souvenir, so I bought a Richard Petty hat, all bright blue and dayglo pink. Sitting in the stands, I started getting some ribbing from the more Southern fans around us – they knew that I was a rookie there because of the Petty hat, told me “they don’t root for the King no mo’, he’s won enough” and advised me to latch onto the guy in that #2 Wrangler car….one Dale Earnhardt!

    So whomever it is y’all like, great. I’ll like who I like for MY reasons for liking them, hypocritical or not. And if I don’t like ‘em, I’ll cheer if their gearbox craps out on them!

  112. Bill, 5 July 2013 18:03

    “If the British hated Sebastian Vettel before the race, you can take it as given the feeling is now entirely mutual.”

    Ted Kravitz today reported Seb played the drums at a festival right after the race at Silverstone, and got roundly applauded.

    So much for you stirring up the nest. This reporting is unworthy of Motorsport Magazine.

    @ Dave Cubbedge: Of course you’re entitled to dislike any driver you want, for any reason, and if you want to embarrass the thousands of other respectful British fans with your behavior, thats all up to you. Just dont pretend hes any worse than the other drivers, and certainly not Webber.

  113. Dave Cubbedge, 6 July 2013 12:47

    I could care less about embarrassing the ‘thousands of other Brit fans’. I’m bloody American!

  114. Jackal, 28 July 2013 05:52

    The only thing that Silverstone demonstrated is the utter lack of class many English F1 fans possess. If you do not like Vettel that is fine. However, booing any driver is very rude and completely out of order. Especially a three times WDC. I dare say that if Vettel were English you’d adore him. England should look to the Japanese … they honour they’re national racers, but they also respect and praise true talent in any driver. Britain is a far way off from being true F1 fans IMO.

  115. Anonymous, 25 August 2013 15:54

    Sorry t bring the past back up, But 2012 was season which Hamilton or button could of won the championship in. In fact both the drivers and the constructors. Especially Hamilton.

    Think about about the amount of times he retired from the lead, the pitstop dramas ect.. That season was Mclaren’s to win from start to finish. There were some races in which the car didn’t perform. I can provide evidence for my statements.

    Australia: should f been a Mclaren 1/2 but safety lucked Vettel into second place

    Malaysia: slow pitstop for Hamilton affectively cost him the race

    Spain: 24 place grid penalty not enough fuel in the car

    Italy: Should of been a Mclaren 1/2 but Button’s car lost drive and forced t retire.

    Singapore: Vettel lucked in, yet again Mclaren car loses drive, Lewis was in first.

    Abu Dhabi: Hamilton retires yet again due to car issues

    Brazil: Maybe another 1/2 but Hamilton retires due to contact with Hulkenberg.

    Overall I think lewis should of won the title or a least a much closer fight between Mclaren and Red Bull for both championships.

    I do not doubt Vettel’s ability to race but Red Bull definitly are one lucky team and Vettel seems to be driving on gold compared to all the other top drivers.

  116. Weth, 11 September 2013 22:01

    As hinted in the article, there are 2 major reasons why the British crowd at Sliverstone (the small degenerate crowd that was there) cheered at Vettel’s misfortune, and they are:

    Major reasons:

    1 Vettel is German
    2 Webber is Australian (almost British)

    Minor reasons:

    3 Vettel, like Schumacher, may run away with WDC after WDC, so British drivers may not have a chance to get one.
    4. Vettel’s win celebration annoys them (particularly the radio hurrah)
    5 Vettel’s finger annoys them

    The non-degenerate population in the island nation, the biggest island nation down under and snow country on the north pole are not affected.

  117. Judith Conabere, 11 April 2014 16:04

    Webber is utterly likeable as well. Noone likes arrogance. Vettel placed himself not only above his team mate but above all direction and discipline, making it clear that he feels himself to be a driver of extreme importance who can call the shots.

  118. Peter Harris, 20 April 2014 10:03

    So here we are in 2014. New season, radically new cars and a new team mate for Vettel. Ricciardo has beaten him every time they’ve both finished so far (early days yet, of course). Shame Vettel’s typecasting as a ‘villain’ has just been added to from his behaviour to date. And his casting as one of the all time great drivers has taken quite a bashing along the way too. The true greats get the absolute best out of the equipment they’re given and don’t lose to relatively rookie team mates. Maybe it was mainly the car and the rest of the excellent Red Bull team that won those championships after all?

Similar content


Formula 1′s minimum weight limit


Nigel Roebuck looks at the problems caused by Formula 1′s minimum weight limit


Overtaking your team-mate


After watching Massa and Bottas in Malaysia Andrew Frankel sought the opinion of Sir Stirling Moss


Driver rotation: gimmick or fix?


Mark Hughes wants to know what you think about the idea of driver rotation between teams in Formula 1



Andrew Frankel

Read Andrew's profile and more …