Gerhard Berger has refused to jump on the bandwagon with those criticising Sebastian Vettel in the wake of the ‘Multi-21’ affair.
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier is the latest to hit out at F1’s reigning world champion, insisting Vettel was wrong to ignore Red Bull’s team orders in Malaysia. “I don’t see any people in the world who could disobey their company and not be sanctioned, or at least give clarification as to why they’ve disobeyed,” he said. “One of our drivers (Kimi Raikkonen) is famous for doing pretty much what he wants, but when you have 600 people behind you, there is a certain respect you must have for the team,” he added.
However, former grand prix winner Gerhard Berger – the late Ayrton Senna’s most famous teammate – sees it differently. The always plain-speaking Austrian puts Vettel in the same category as the great Senna, as well as Michael Schumacher. “There are drivers like Senna or Schumacher or Vettel who develop an extra selfishness on the track,” Berger told Germany’s Auto Bild. “Situations such as in Malaysia brings out their killer instinct, where they can think of one thing only — ‘I want to win the race’. “Ultimately that’s what makes you a three time, five time, seven time world champion,” he added.
Some, like 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, have slammed Vettel’s Sepang tactics as revealing his lack of “honour” and “respect”, but Berger thinks it is “the others not winning who sleep the worst”. He therefore advises Mark Webber to “wipe your mouth, put your foot down and prove to the world that you can beat Sebastian Vettel”. And that’s because “guys like Schumacher, Senna and Vettel” will always ignore team orders “unless it is to their advantage”.