Speaking on the latest episode of the official F1 podcast, Beyond The Grid, presented by Bose, Horner reveals how Webber squeezing Vettel against the pit wall when his team mate was fighting for the 2012 title in the Brazilian Grand Prix decider would come back to haunt him a few months later.
“It was very difficult for Mark to accept at the time that, and I think if he looked back at it now with perspective and honesty, Sebastian was just quicker,” said Horner. “So therefore Mark would use whatever tool he could to try and get under his skin.
“As a team, we were just trying to play a straight bat, but every now and again, you’d get a missile coming in and the situation got tougher and tougher.
“It probably culminated at the end of 2012 when Sebastian was fighting Alonso for the championship and Mark squeezed him up against the pit wall at the start of the race in Brazil, in the championship decider, which ultimately resulted in him getting turned round by Bruno Senna. Sebastian was hugely angry about that.
“There was a hangover of that that led into Malaysia, literally two races later, split by four or five months. You had a situation where you have Mark in the car ahead, Sebastian on new tyres in the car behind. The tyres were pretty fragile, we’re telling them hold position and Sebastian thought ‘F*** you’.”
Podcast host Tom Clarkson asked “Was it payback?” to which Horner replied: “100%”. He added: “[Vettel] told [Webber] that after the race or when they sat down in China. That was probably as tense as it could get.
“I had been invited to a lunch hosted by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, which I expected there to be about 200 people at. There turned out not be 10 of us there. This was at Buckingham Palace. It was just after the ‘Multi 21’ scenario.
“I had this bizarre situation of having to deal with the drivers and then go to lunch with The Queen and Prince Philip and explain to her what ‘Multi 21’ was and why our Australian driver was particularly grumpy with our German driver. I had that conversation over lunch with The Queen and she seemed to show great interest in it.”