I’d like to begin with a very simple life lesson: In the workplace, when your boss tells you to do something, you do it.
This seems like such a simple concept, yet some people absolutely refuse to accept it. Whether it’s because they think they know better or because the boss’s instructions don’t necessarily suit their own best interests, these people will defy direct orders and call their own shots instead. More often then not, this type of behavior results in a colossal fuck up and consequential termination. However, in very rare instances, an employer may be willing to overlook this type of behavior from their employee because of one major underlying fact – the employee is really fucking good at what they do.
Sebastian Vettel is that person.
At Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the Red Bull team was comfortably ahead of the pack with Mark Webber in first and Sebastian Vettel behind him as they completed their final pit stops. Both drivers were instructed to turn down the engines in order to preserve their tires, hold their positions and finish the race in their respective positions. Mark Webber did just that, but as soon as he began to ease up on his car, Vettel attacked. For two laps, Webber found himself under heavy pressure from his teammate. Vettel was chastised over the radio, yet continued to fight until he was finally able to overtake Webber and ultimately win the race.
Webber wasn’t pleased with Vettel one bit:
Over the radio after the race, Vettel was told “Good job, Seb. Looks like you wanted it bad enough. Still, you’ve got some explaining to do.” Vettel has since apologized for defying team orders by stating, “When I came back I saw the team’s reaction and I had a short word with Mark. It hit me quite hard that I fucked up” according to news.com.au. However, in the court of public opinion, the damage is done. A quick twitter search for “Sebastian Vettel” is evidence of that.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a similar situation played out with the Mercedes team. Fourth place driver Nico Rosberg requested permission to pass his 3rd place teammate, Lewis Hamilton, but his requests were denied. Rather than defy orders, Rosberg obliged and finished in 4th place. Hamilton handled the situation with class on the podium, stating, “I can’t say it’s the best feeling being up here today. If I’m honest, I really feel Nico should be standing here.” During the cool-down lap, Rosberg told team principal Ross Brawn over the radio, “Remember this one” to which Brawn replied, “we will talk about all this later.”
While Rosberg was obviously disappointed by the outcome, he handled the situation properly. Vettel, on the other hand, decided to act in his own best interests. While it did give him a few more Championship points this week, the implications of his actions over the rest of the season remain to be seen. It’s good to have allies on the track, and while Vettel and Webber have never been particularly close, the likelihood of Webber obeying instruction on the track in order to help out Vettel down the road seems slim.
- Fernando Alonso exited the race on the second lap. He suffered some significant wing damage on the first lap, but did not pit for repairs at the end of the lap. Instead, he continued on and the wing broke off at the first turn of the second lap, damaging his car and taking him out of the race. Ferrari has since taken responsibility for the decision to keep him out there, but it’s quite possible that they’re just covering for Alonso to protect him from criticism. Either way, it was a stupid decision and infuriating to fans who might have might have placed bets on Alonso to win the 2013 Drivers’ Championship and might also happen to be me.
- My favorite moment of the race came courtesy of Lewis Hamilton. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Hamilton made the switch to Mercedes this year after spending the entirety of his career with McLaren. As he approached pit lane at one point, McLaren was preparing for a stop of their own when Hamilton decided to pay them a quick visit.
- A wheel-nut issue forced both of the Force India cars to exit the race, as the team did not feel safe keeping the cars on the track. This was disappointing to see, especially considering how well Adrian Sutil had performed in Melbourne.
- Tire strategy once again came into play as well, but that’s boring so I’m not going to get into it. The story of the day was the Red Bulls, and now we can all look forward to watching the situation unfold over the rest of the season.