|© Paul Gilham/Getty Images/Red Bull Racing
Clawing back through the field after a first lap incident was a steep ask for Sebastian Vettel at the Brazilian Grand Prix but there was at least one position that was gifted to the Red Bull driver.
Seven laps from the end, Michael Schumacher let the 25-year-old pass him easily after the Mercedes driver defended his position for a few corners in a move that the newly-crowned triple champion described as “very fair”.
The two met during the weigh-in after the race ended where the seven-time world champion explained to his compatriot the reason for backing off from the fight.
“I said thanks for not defending too hard. He said 'what's the point, you were much quicker. You were going to pass me anyway,'” Vettel said.
Vettel finished the race at Interlagos in sixth place to clinch his third title while Schumacher crossed the line 2.5 seconds behind the Red Bull in seventh place.
“It's something you can learn in karting when you're racing. You come from the back with more pace than the go-karts around you or the people around you, it's to work together,” Vettel explained. “There are some guys who are racing for 17th place and they are defending 17th place as if it was the last lap of the last race.
“But sometimes in a way, you need to work together and whoever is quicker at the time maybe dictates the pace, let him go, go behind him and then every time he passes someone you go with him.
“I think if Michael had defended a lot, it would only have slowed both of us down and then maybe someone else is coming from behind and passes him, so he ends up in a worse position,” Vettel pointed out. “I think he's smart enough to know in what situation he is in and what car he's fighting with at the current time.”