|Sebastian Vettel after the victory, on Sunday
Singapore: Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner lashed out at the fans who continue to boo Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel and suggested they were hurting the German’s feelings.
Horner said it was ‘unfair’ to boo Vettel, who has suffered repeated ill-treatment this year and was again subjected to loud chants and heckles after winning Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old star did his best to shrug off the jeers but Horner said the booing, blamed on a particular group of fans, might be getting under his skin.
“There is a small collective group and it is like a pantomime, but it is so unfair because it is not sporting,” said Horner.
“The boy had driven an unbelievable race. What you witnessed was one of the best drives that I have seen him produce in terms of raw pace, and I just don’t think it is sporting to see a driver who has put in a performance like that not get the reception he deserves.
“He is a great kid. He has a great sense of humour. He has a big heart at the end of the day.”
The booing, however, has done little to quench Vettel’s desire for more success. Instead, it is spurring him on to continue winning for a team that has adapted brilliantly to every problem the sport has thrown at it.
“It’s not nice but I think if you look around the grandstands, there are a lot of fans dressed in red as Ferrari have a strong tradition in the sport and have been more successful than any other team,” Vettel said of the jeering.
“They are quite emotional when they are not winning and they don’t like it as it costs a lot of money to follow the sport... in Monza or taking flights here to Singapore. As long as they keep on booing then we are doing a good job. It actually spurs me.”
Booing erupted after Vettel’s wins in Belgium and Italy, and surprisingly at the less partisan circuit of Singapore, as Vettel moved closer to a fourth straight world title.
The opprobrium has been put down to plain boredom from fans, as the German has won more than half the races this season and already has one hand on the championship trophy.
On Sunday, he led from pole position to the chequered flag in an astounding — if not entertaining — demonstration of uncatchable front-running.
But there is also residual anger after Vettel controversially ignored team orders and passed Red Bull teammate Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix in March.
While Vettel apologised to Webber at the time, he later struck a defiant tone and insisted he would do the same again. Webber has announced his departure from the team at the end of the season.
Vettel controlled the entire race weekend so comfortably that even a safety car period, which pulled the field together midway through the marathon 61-lap Grand Prix only served as a reminder of how much faster he is than the rest.
Once his Red Bull was unleashed again after the track was cleared of debris, the German easily sped away from his closest challengers to pull more than 30 seconds ahead within 15 laps of the restart. (Agencies)