Christian Horner discusses Sebastian Vettel’s ‘annoying habit’

Sebastian Vettel raced for Red Bull from 2009-2014 and became the team's most successful driver.

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel retired from Formula 1 last season as one of the sport’s most popular drivers, with fans across the globe having been blown away by his personality and honesty.

It wasn’t always like this, though, with Vettel at one point in his career having been fairly unpopular.

His rise in popularity came towards the end of his stay at Ferrari, with the German having possessed an “annoying habit” whilst at Red Bull.

Vettel was an imperious winner at Red Bull and was, most importantly, a young and hungry driver.

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As a result, some of his antics wound up his rivals, with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner having admitted that one of Vettel’s habits was “really annoying”.

“I think everything evolves in time,” Horner told the Talking Bull podcast.

“Sebastian used to when he get out of the car, he’d shove his finger in your face. [He had] this really annoying habit of shoving this one finger.”

Vettel was sensational when he raced for Red Bull, but the peak of his career in times of popularity came in the latter stages of his career, when he was no longer challenging for wins and podiums.

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When he reached this stage, Vettel’s mindset seemingly changed, with him having begun “expressing” who he really was.

During his Red Bull years Vettel was a “very private person”, whereas he allowed his fans to see “who he really was” in his final years at Ferrari and Aston Martin.

“I think whenever you have serial winners in any sport, I think it’s easy to lose that popularity and Sebastian was a very private person, he didn’t give anything of himself personally. He never let people see who he really was.

“I think as he got older, he got more comfortable with expressing himself and people seeing his character and his values and they began to love that and he became hugely popular by the end of his career.”

Vettel’s dominance at Red Bull did, of course, lead to some issues for Horner to sort, most notably after the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

The 35-year-old blatantly ignored team order ‘Multi 21’ and overtook team-mate at the time Mark Webber for the race lead and ultimately, the victory.

Horner hasn’t had to deal with something of that magnitude just yet; however, a similar situation is perhaps brewing between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

The Red Bull boss is adamant that the Austrians always treat their drivers fairly in every aspect, with both having “the same opportunity”.

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“It’s always great having both at the sharp end, [it] is exactly what you want as a team or as a team principal and I think that you just become very conscious about just making sure that both have the same opportunity because you want it to be about what they do on the track,” Horner added.

“There’s no number one driver within any contract that we’ve ever had. It’s always been about what they do on the track and that’s the way we want it to be.

“So we we are scrupulously fair in terms of the way that we treat the drivers in terms of the upgrades, how they’re distributed, the parts, the weight of the parts, you name it, even to who drives out the garage first for a qualifying session [that] alternates from weekend to weekend.”