The boos aimed at the podium when Sebastian Vettel has been on the top step have been increasing the further into the year we get. The question is, why?
They started in earnest in Canada, and have accompanied him on the podium at pretty much every race, except his win at his home Grand Prix. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has described the boos aimed at Vettel as “unfair”, “not deserved” and “not right”.
It would appear that the fans main reason for booing Vettel has come from him ignoring team orders in Malaysia back in March – where he overtook team-mate Mark Webber to claim the win after being told to hold station.
Another reason is possibly his dominance this season. His win in Singapore – his third in a row – took him to 7 wins for the season from the 13 races, which has edged him that little bit closer to title number 4.
Team boss Horner, who accompanied Vettel on the podium in Singapore on Sunday as the team representative, said: “Standing up on the podium what you see is there is a small collective group [who start it off] and then it’s a like a pantomime, it ripples off”.
“I don’t know what [the reason] is. For sure Malaysia didn’t help. But it’s happened. It’s been done. There’s been an awful lot written about it and there were circumstances that were involved in that that Sebastian felt [he was doing the right thing].”
Vettel however, has taken it all in very good humour. “They are on a tour – they go around on a bus,” he said with a smile. He also said that he believes that a lot of the boos are coming from disgruntled Ferrari/Alonso fans – especially so at Monza last time out.
But perhaps it is just something that comes with the territory. When you are a consistent winner, people start to get a little tired with what they perceive to be a procession – to paraphrase Gary Lineker: Formula 1 is a simple sport – you race for two hours and then Vettel wins it.
I think what is most frustrating is that there appears to be a contingent who feel that Vettel does not deserve his success. Suggestions that he is not a particularly good driver, or cannot overtake, or only wins from the front, and even then it’s because the car is so dominat. Yes, the car is is a cut above the rest, but you still have to have the bravery, raw pace and masses of talent to get the best from it. Bravery, pace and talent are all things that Vettel has in abundance.
I wonder how long it will take people to realise that we are possibly witnessing the rise of one of the greatest drivers ever to grace the sport?
Love him or loathe him, the guy deserves respect. Nobody wins three world championships on luck alone.