Despite the FIA’s swearing ban, Sebastian Vettel on Thursday responded to claims he lacks charisma by suggesting Bernie Ecclestone was “taking the piss”.
“Sorry,” said the reigning world champion after clasping his hand to his mouth. “Maybe he was just taking the ‘mickey’ out of the newspaper.”
It was just a light-hearted moment ahead of the Brazilian grand prix, but with a championship to be decided on Sunday, it’s always more serious in Formula One. For instance, reporters noted that, as German Vettel cracked his customary jokes with the media in the FIA press conference, title challenger Fernando Alonso was the only one not smiling.
With a 13-point deficit and an inferior car, Ferrari’s Spaniard is deploying every weapon. When asked about Ferrari’s sabotage of Felipe Massa’s gearbox in Austin, Alonso said he was “proud” of the decision. And he hinted Red Bull was guilty of hypocrisy.
“We don’t need to go too far back this year where we have had some doubts about teams and which position they will start from, depending on limits they were finding in the regulations,” said Alonso.
Vettel however insisted Red Bull takes a “different approach” to the sort of questionable tactics deployed by Ferrari. And the German also hit back against claims he has been on a title-collecting cruise since 2010 with a superior Red Bull.
“As far as I can remember,” he is quoted by France’s autohebdo.fr, “there has never been a particularly successful driver with a very bad car.”