This is Day 12 of the F1 Advent Calendar 2010, brought to you by Sidepodcast. We are racing through the 2010 season by means of a short episode each and every day of advent, focusing in on the key moments that made the year what it was. Yesterday we talked about Monaco, but now - Day 12 - Red Bull riots.
Going into the Turkish GP weekend, Webber and Vettel were on equal points in the driver standings, both three points ahead of third place Alonso. Their strong form over the first part of the season had also given Red Bull a good lead in the constructors competition as well. However, with so many points up for grabs at each race, it all could change very quickly.
Webber qualified in pole position for the second race in a row, and Vettel lined up third, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton splitting them. Vettel made another good start, and was up to second before the end of the first lap, a position that was consolidated by some good pitstops by the Red Bull mechanics. They looked set for another dominant 1-2 finish, but that was only until lap 40.
Vettel had managed to close up the gap to Webber considerably, and was looking strong to overtake him, but when he made the move, it went horribly wrong. The German's Red Bull turned in on the sister car causing a collision that took them both off track. Vettel's race was over instantly, but Webber managed to recover and carry on. He headed straight to the pitlane for some urgent repairs, which allowed the McLaren drivers to inherit first and second place. Luckily for Webber, they had a good lead over fourth place Michael Schumacher, so that he could leave the pitlane in third, retaining at least one place on the podium for the team.
Crashing into your teammate is bad enough, but it was what happened next that created the fallout that would last the entire season. Reports emerged that Webber had been forced to turn his engine down to try and save fuel, whilst Vettel was fine to keep on the attack. That got them close enough for the accident to happen in the first place.
Each driver blamed the other, and wouldn't take responsibility for what happened. The team, though, they fell on the side of Vettel. Immediately after the race, motorsport advisor Helmut Marko pinned the blame on Webber, by pointing out that Vettel's car was already ahead of Mark's, and well into the corner. Never mind the fact the video footage showed Vettel's car turning into Webber's rather than into the corner.
Christian Horner took the company line, but stuck with it to an extent that it still seemed like he favoured the German driver. The story became one of Vettel having to overtake because he was being chased by the McLaren drivers. Speculation was rife, and Horner was keen to draw a line under it all. He organised a meeting between the two drivers to attempt to clear the air. At the time, Webber said: "Seb and I will sit down and have a chat about it because we need to avoid costly slip-ups like this in the future. We'll probably have a difference of opinion about what happened on Sunday until we go to our graves, but we're both adults and we need to find a way of racing together that doesn't compromise the team."
They did have that meeting, and Horner declared the matter resolved. Unfortunately for him, this was only the start of a fraught championship fight between the two teammates. Things were only going to get worse.
That's all for today. Thank you for listening to the series so far, we're now about halfway through! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the accident that started the whole Red Bull situation, you can leave your comments on Sidepodcast.com. I will be back tomorrow with Day 13.
All content in the series F1 Advent Calendar 2010
Filed under Mini Series
References Christian Horner, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher
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