London: Jenson Button, a usually mild-mannered McLaren ace, has criticized 2011 Formula One German champion Sebastian Vettel for his ruthless tactics during the recent Japan Grand Prix.
Even though he got his revenge by roaring to a classic victory and denying Vettel the sheen of a Suzuka hat-trick, Button did not even wait until the podium ceremony to confront his adversary face-to-face. “Didn’t you see me at the start?” he fumed.
Later, a leading daily quoted him as adding: “I had to back off otherwise there would have been an almighty shunt. I might not lift off next time you pull across at the start.”
Vettel roared into the record books as the sport’s youngest double champion at 24 years and 98 days, taking nearly a year off Fernando Alonso’s previous benchmark.
As he attempted to laugh off the complaints, the German pointed out that Ferrari ace Alonso, who was second, had forced him on the grass at Monza a month before.
Frosty-faced Button clearly felt Vettel had taken up their rivalry a notch too far. “You thought I was Alonso?” he asked.
When Vettel talked of his idol Michael Schumacher, Button quipped: “Bloody Germans.”
But Vettel was quick to defend his actions, which were not punished by officials.
“By the time I saw Jenson he was already backing off,” he said. “Obviously I wouldn’t put him in any danger.”
McLaren’s lead racer has made a point of winning without controversy or confrontation throughout his career, but is now happy to change his ways.