OCTOBER 6, 2013

Vettel still making waves

Sebastian Vettel's 'boos' and 'balls' are still making waves in the F1 paddock.

Just as insiders wondered why crowds keep booing the German on the podium, Vettel crassly explained Red Bull's dominance by saying his team works hard while his rivals "hang their balls in the pool".

"I don't know what came over him," German motor racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck told the Abendzeitung newspaper.

"He should really think harder about what he says, especially when it's about his colleagues."

Vettel's countryman Nico Rosberg was particularly critical of the 'balls' comments, and he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper he stands by his harsh rebuke.

"I did it very consciously," the Mercedes driver said.

"His criticism was directed at all of us, and so also at my boys. It was incorrect.

"I could have gone just to him and said 'Sebastian, that was shit', but to me it was important that more people heard it than just him and me," added Rosberg.

Not surprisingly, the Red Bull camp is standing by its world champion.

"His message was just that we are always the last to leave the paddock, and you could easily check," Dr Helmut Marko told Sport Bild.

But also some of Vettel's rivals are not quite as critical as Rosberg.

Force India's Adrian Sutil said: "Maybe they are not working harder than the rest of us, but they are definitely doing something better than us."

McLaren's Jenson Button, however, suggested the real problem is Vettel's attitude.

"The problem is that when you're ahead, winning races and championships, you're thinking differently -- but it always comes to an end."

Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, however, stirred the pot some more when he was asked why Red Bull and Vettel are dominating.

"Maybe they have more resources. Maybe they have more people. Maybe they have more money.

"Maybe they're working for more hours than they are allowed -- who knows?" said the 2008 world champion, hinting Red Bull might be breaching the resource restriction agreement rules.

Marko hit back: "Hamilton should look very closely into how many people are working on his engine."

F1 legend Alain Prost played down suggestions he might be depressed that 26-year-old Vettel is about to equal his career-long achievement of four world titles.

"The present has nothing to do with the past," the Frenchman told Spain's El Pais.

"Now, if you have a good car and a good team, you know you're up there."

Finally, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso had some advice for Vettel about how to deal with his current unpopularity.

"When I was world champion, the fans booed me," he recalled.

"When I wasn't winning anymore, I was suddenly popular. But I'd rather win than be loved," Alonso insisted.