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Horner: No Vettel issues

Monday 21-April-2014 09:16

Christian Horner has played down suggestions that Sebastian Vettel once again defied team orders during Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix...

Like in Bahrain a fortnight ago, where the German was asked by Horner to let team-mate Daniel Ricciardo pass because the Australian was on a different tyre strategy, Vettel again received the order to let the sister Red Bull past in Shanghai on Sunday.

"Tough luck," Vettel replied to the order when he learnt that they were on the same tyre strategy this time around.

Team Principal Horner, though, quickly moved to dismiss claims that the German was unhappy about the status quo within the team, saying that Vettel's statement came when he thought they were on identical strategies, when they weren't in fact because Ricciardo's soft compound Pirellis had lasted several laps longer than those on the four-time World Champion's RB10.

"He's a racer and, of course, he asked first of all what tyre was Daniel on," Horner said of Vettel when asked by crash.net of the incident.

"Then, at that point, what he didn't realise was that we were looking at a different strategy - because Seb was going through the tyre phases quicker - to convert Sebastian on to a three-stop.

"I think he was understanding that they were on the same tyres and that they were on the same strategy and he wanted to race. The situation was that, obviously, his tyres were quite a bit older at that stage, he was going through the tyre quicker and it looked very much like a three-stop [race].

"As soon as he understood that, he immediately let him through and could see that he just simply didn't have the pace to hold him back, therefore it was pointless."

After eventually getting past Vettel, Ricciardo challenged Fernando Alonso for the final podium position, but ultimately ran out of laps to close the gap to the Spaniard.

Horner, though, insisted that the Australian's race wasn't hampered by Vettel.

"I think that, arguably, he would have been a second further up the road, but [Vettel] did the right thing for the team and let his team-mate through," Horner continued.

"Catching [Alonso] was one thing but, with the deficit that we have on the kilometre-long straight here, I think passing was going to be something quite different.

"The problem was that the windows of traffic weren't opening up for him behind [and] we could see with our lack of straight-line pace that overtaking despite fresher tyres would be very difficult, so therefore in the end we concluded that actually a two stop would be the best strategy for him as well."

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