Sebastian Vettel risks all-out war with Mark Webber at Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel has blamed Mark Webber's previous behaviour for “indirectly” affecting his decision to ignore team-orders and overtake his Australian team-mate at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Ahead of this weekend's race in China, it was expected that the Red Bull drivers would put on a united front in an attempt to move on from the controversy of the last Grand Prix.
However, Vettel has made candid remarks about the incident which saw the three-time world champion overtake Webber to win the race despite a clear order from his team not to do so.
The German driver claims Webber has failed to help the team in the past and this affected his decision.
"There was more than one occasion in the past when he could have helped the team and he didn't," Vettel said.
Asked if that was why he ignored the team orders, Vettel replied: "Indirectly so."
After the race in Malaysia, Vettel claimed he had misunderstood the team orders and had made a mistake. However, the 25-year-old said he likely would have ignored any further order from the team to give back the lead.
"I would have thought about it and would probably have done the same thing because Mark doesn't deserve that."
Asked whether there was trust between him and Webber, Vettel said, "I would not call it trust to be honest, we have a professional relationship.
"I never had support from his side (of the garage), I have a lot of support from the team and the team is supporting us both the same way."
The German apologised to team staff for breaking team rules amid much criticism after the race, but laughed when asked if he had been punished in any way: "There are lots of marks on my back," and "What do you expect to happen? Make a suggestion."
The relationship between Vettel and Webber appears fractured beyond repair, and it seem increasingly unlikely that the Australian will get another contract after his one-year deal expires at the end of the season.
"I'm definitely keen to finish the season - a lot of people were questioning that, but that wasn't something on my mind," Webber said ahead of this weekend's race in China.
"Year-by-year (contract extensions), that's how it has always been for me, so come the summer I will talk to Dietrich and we'll go from there.
"We're only at the third race and I have never, ever made decisions about my career at this point in a season and, although it's a topic at the moment, I don't see why I should make any decisions about the future."
The result in Malaysia, with Vettel winning ahead of Webber in second place, means the German now leads the early drivers' standings with 40 points and Webber sits third with 26.
Belfast Telegraph Digital