Sebastian Vettel showed what a true team player he was by sticking with his Red Bull Racing chiefs on the pit wall following his early exit from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to Christian Horner. The team's principal said Vettel's surprise decision to remain with his team rather than leave the track gave another demonstration of why the World Champion is one of the very best drivers on the grid.
"I think it is part of who he is," explained Horner. "He is like a sponge for information. He saw an opportunity to help his teammate with the benefit of his experience and also an opportunity to experience what the pit wall is like, and to see how we make decisions in the race.
"He is like a sponge for that kind of thing. He is keen to understand and offer any advice and help he could. He was offering the benefit of his experience and what he would be feeling. He was interested to see how the pit wall worked, and hear how the strategies unfold."
Horner conceded that Vettel had been deeply disappointed by seeing his chances of another win dashed so early in the race, but said there was no reason why the team would not respond in style by winning the season finale in Brazil in two weeks.
"The whole team was frustrated because we were in a great position to win the race," explained Horner. "Seb did a superb job in qualifying, one of the best laps of his career I think to nail that pole position. He had done everything right, he had done the start, made it comfortably into the lead into the first corner and it was cruel luck really to be forced to retire in the way he did.
"So, of course, he was disappointed, but he didn't rush to leave the circuit. He hung around to help the team and try and help his teammate. But he is determined to finish the season on a high and I am sure we will bounce back in two weeks in Brazil."
Horner says that the team's experience in Abu Dhabi provided a harsh reminder of why his squad should never take victory for granted in F1.
"Absolutely," he said. "That is why we have celebrated every single victory with the satisfaction that we have. Winning grands prix is tremendously difficult. It needs everything to come together and it has been the most remarkable season for the team.
"To have won 11 of the 18 races so far, to have achieved all but one of the pole positions this year, to have won both World Championships with three races to go, it has been the most remarkable year. It would have been great to have maintained our unbeaten run here, but, unfortunately, with the tire puncture we had it was not to be."