Christian Horner on Saturday fended off claims that Sebastian Vettel is being crudely favoured over his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
The RB6 is the runaway dominant car at Silverstone, but in morning practice one of two examples of a new front wing specification broke on Vettel’s car.
The other new wing was fitted to Webber’s car, so – based on “championship position and the performance in FP3” – it was taken away from the Australian and given to Vettel, team boss Horner explained whilst surrounded by reporters after qualifying.
23-year-old Vettel, 12 points ahead of Webber in the championship but trailing the lead of the McLaren drivers, went on to secure pole position with the wing.
Within memory of the team’s handling of the teammates’ Istanbul crash, Webber was visibly furious on Saturday afternoon, surmising that “the team is happy with the result”.
Horner said the 33-year-old should not be angry.
“He knows there was no malice in the decision, no manipulation.
“Unfortunately we found ourselves in a situation with only one front wing of a certain specification.
“There was not really a laptime difference between the (new and old) specifications, but there was a slight difference in characteristics, with one driver expressing a slight preference for those characteristics,” said the Briton.
Horner confirmed that Vettel preferred the new wing, but admitted that the decision might make it appear that the young German is being favoured.
“You don’t always want to, but sometimes you have to take a difficult decision, and today that decision went with Sebastian,” he said.
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