Yesterday we witnessed possibly the most grumpy Grand Prix podium ever. Vettel (right), finishing in number one position, in hindsight, wishes he’d finished in number two and thus not alienated his teammate; Webber (left), number two was annoyed at number one; Hamilton, number three (not pictured) was subdued as he was only there due to team orders given to number 4. It was a hollow victory.
Whatever you think about team orders in F1, the fact is they exist, and they are allowed. In Malaysia we saw one team, Mercedes, give an instruction which Nico Rosberg reluctantly accepted meaning he finished fourth and Hamilton third. At about the same time in the race, Red Bull give team orders which were ignored by Sebastien Vettel resulting in him overtaking Mark Webber in a risky manoeuvre which could have put them both off the track. It didn’t, to the relief of Red Bull, but they weren’t happy at being ignored.
What was noticeable was that there was no joy in victory for Vettel. After the race he admitted he made ‘a mistake’ in ignoring team orders and apologised. It was clear he was regretting his decision to go against his team. From the BBC:
Asked if he was happy he had won, Vettel said: “No, I’m not. As I said, I did a mistake. If I could undo it, I would but I can’t so it is not a great feeling right now and surely tonight is not going to be easy to fall asleep. I owe a proper explanation and apology to Mark and the team.”
Often we can get what we want and not enjoy it. This is what guilt does – it plays on our conscience and robs us of the delight or satisfaction that we would have had in doing the right thing (whether we’d won or not). Disobedience of an authority breaks the relationship we had with that person. Of course, sometimes it is fine to break that relationship, if the authority is asking you to go against your conscience, but otherwise, the relationship need to be rebuilt.
I can think of numerous occasions when I’ve decided to do my own thing despite my knowing that it wasn’t the best for me – wasn’t what God might have wanted. The result? Less enjoyment in the thing I wanted – a hollow victory, and the need to rebuild my relationship with God. Fortunately God is loving and is willing to forgive far more times than I can mess up.
I’m sure a team like Red Bull will forgive a repentant Vettel, especially given his extraordinary talent. But there are sure to be some trust issues that need to be addressed in the next few weeks.