Disgraceful disrespect - why the booing of Sebastian Vettel is simply not on
After experiencing the podium jeering first hand, Sky F1's Martin Brundle has some strong words for the boo boys and explains why, despite Vettel's Singapore perfection, Alonso was his man of the race
By Martin Brundle. Last Updated: 24/09/13 1:46pm
It was all the threes for Sebastian Vettel. His thirty-third F1 victory, and a hat-trick of victories in both Singapore and recent races.
It was a full house too for the third time in his career meaning pole, leading every lap, fastest lap, and victory. He won at will, created suitable gaps at an astonishing rate when required, and paced himself perfectly at other times. He was faultless. No wonder the fans booed him on the podium...
That's disgraceful and I instinctively felt the need to say something as I was the one chosen to do the podium interviews at the event (you'd be amazed how late you find out about that honour, hence no jacket!). Vettel brushes it all off with good humour but I felt uncomfortable having now experienced it myself, and they weren't even booing me. Silence would still send the message if desired, booing is plain rude and disrespectful and reflects poorly on all F1 fans in general which is absolutely not fair either.
I always enjoy the Singapore race, it tends to fly by despite being 40 minutes longer than Monza last time out. And there is always so much to talk about afterwards. Many say that there is no overtaking at this track but Turns Seven and 14 must see some of the best F1 action of any during the year. The apparently mandatory Safety Car stirred up the race a treat. That's when the strategists and engineers earn their keep big time, with just a few seconds to make race and even championship-changing decisions.
I must say I find the Safety Car procedure of letting the few lapped cars past and then waiting for them to catch up during a long lap like Singapore very frustrating. The concept was introduced when races at the front were spoiled by backmarkers in the way on restarts. It does also allow a potential front-runner like Mark Webber earlier in the season to catch up and score points or even podiums, but it really does seem to suspend the racing far too long.
For me driver of the race was Fernando Alonso, despite Vettel's utter brilliance and Raikkonen's bullet-proof pace and reliability. Alonso's start once again made the others look like new boys; his launch technique followed by supreme confidence without risking his car too much is quite something. If only he could qualify, and maybe Raikkonen will assist with that next year.
But what impressed me most is how Alonso made it from lap 25 to lap 61 on one set of tyres in a car which lacks ultimate grip and was probably on fourth-fastest combo on the track. He babysits the tyres while carrying great speed and doesn't make mistakes. I'd love to see him in a Red Bull, or a car with Red Bull pace. I don't know who would win; Vettel hasn't been stretched to his limit lately.
It would be too easy and cynical to say 'well it was guaranteed that Mark Webber's engine would fail and not Vettel's, he gets all the rubbish parts'. It's true to say that often if Mark didn't have bad luck then he'd have no luck at all, and a water leak finished off a valuable engine this time, cruelly close to the finish.
Mark was, shall we politely say, not amused to receive a reprimand for hitching a lift with Alonso and also failing to get permission from a marshall for crossing the track. It wasn't the smartest place for Alonso to stop without doubt, just around a street circuit corner, but we are talking about cars which can stop from 200mph in 100 metres.
With two other existing reprimands it means a ten-place grid drop in Korea, to be clear his penalty is for totting up reprimands, not hitching a lift. Mark will not miss certain aspects of F1 - although they dish out penalties in Sports Car racing too so he shouldn't relax yet.
Talking of bad luck Paul di Resta can't get a break at the moment. Another poor qualifying followed a bad recent run but the team and driver moved the car nicely through the field and we caught of glimpse of Di Resta/Force India early-2013 style until it went in the wall with seven laps to go leaving Paul scratching his head as to why.
The McLaren boys worked hard for their points but they couldn't keep their tyres alive on the same strategy as Alonso and Raikkonen. What a difference a year makes in that respect.
Onto Korea, a track which has always generated some great F1 action even if the venue fails to inspire. Alonso and co must beat Vettel because once that championship is won then Red Bull will immediately focus all attention and resource, and 100% of Adrian Newey on the 2014 car, and we know exactly what that means.