MARK Webber’s future at Red Bull was thrown into more doubt after he was ordered not to overtake team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
As the pair battled for second position in the final laps, Webber was given five radio transmissions from his bosses on the pitwall to maintain the gap to Vettel ahead, but he admitted after the race that he ignored their orders and fought to overtake Vettel right to the last corner.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, and rumours rife that Lewis Hamilton has had talks over a potential move to the Milton Keynes team, Webber’s position looks increasingly under threat.
After qualifying on pole position for the second time this season, Aussie Webber was leap-frogged by championship leader Vettel into the first corner at Silverstone.
The pair began to race away from the chasing pack, but two error-strewn pit-stops allowed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso to open a huge gap at the front.
But as Vettel struggled on his aging tyres in the closing stages, Webber gained on the 2010 world champion before he was told to ‘maintain the gap’ via radio.
“I’m not fine with it, no,” Webber said after crossing the line in third. “If Fernando had retired on the last lap then we would have been fighting for victory.
“I was fighting right to the end. Of course I ignored the team because I wanted another place. Seb was doing his best, I was doing my best, for sure I don’t want to crash with anyone. That was it.”
Vettel remains top of the championship standings by 80 points over Webber and Red Bull are 110 points ahead of rivals McLaren in the constructors’ title race.