Christian Horner says British GP stewards right to let Vettel and Alonso race hard
"It was on the limit, but it was racing," Red Bull team boss reckons
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 07/07/14 3:59pm
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said stewards, led by Nigel Mansell, did the right thing in letting Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso race as hard as they did in Sunday’s British GP.
Lewis Hamilton might have won his home race at Silverstone but the fight between Vettel and Alonso was arguably its highlight, with the pair going wheel-to-wheel after the World Champion pitted on lap 33.
The Spaniard bravely passed Vettel around the outside of Copse corner soon afterwards and held the Red Bull driver at bay for the next 13 laps until he finally took fifth place back with a similarly daring move at the same spot.
Both drivers were vocal on the radio throughout – Vettel complaining that his rival almost forced him off the track at one stage and also flagging Alonso’s regular trips into the run-off, while the Ferrari driver later pointed out that Vettel’s own attitude was hardly whiter than white.
“They were both on the limit, [it was] six of one, half a dozen of the other - I think it would be wrong to penalise. Fernando was benefiting at Turn Nine and 18 constantly, which Sebastian was quick to point out. And Sebastian was doing whatever he could to try and pass him,” Horner said afterwards.
“It was on the limit, but it was racing. It was firm racing. I think Seb made his move stick; he was very, very brave. I think Fernando’s the type of driver you can go wheel-to-wheel with and he’ll just about give you the space but no more.”
Each received warnings from FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting but the matter went no further, with Horner believing that Mansell – four times a British GP winner – and his fellow stewards were right to draw the line where they did.
“We raised it to Charlie, I’m sure Ferrari raised it about Sebastian. I thought hats off to Nigel that he allowed the guys to race,” he said.
“Charlie pointed out track limits a couple of times to Seb, I’m sure it was pointed out why [Alonso] had got a warning flag, which was for track limits.
“The problem is, when you’ve got run-off like that and it’s quicker, drivers are going to want to abuse it.”
Horner added: “I think we’ve just made a move to allow a bit more freedom for the guys to race, I think that’s a good thing. The problem is there’s got to be rules but where’s the line?
“You’ve got to give the stewards a degree of freedom to make sensible decisions.”