Webber: I challenged for a few victories this year but wasn’t strong enough when it counted
3 November, 2013
Perhaps the thing we will miss most about Mark Webber when he departs Formula 1, at the end of this season, is his downright honesty which once again was on display in the aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he spoke about his race around Yas Marina Circuit.
You tried your best, you gave it plenty but the start hurt you a little bit out there.
Mark Webber: Yeah. The start wasn’t great. Nico got an unbelievable start, Seb’s was a bit better than mine. I think we were lucky we’re not at Malaysia or Monza because it would have been even more painful. Anyway, I think in the first stint just not strong enough and on the Soft tyres Seb got a very good gap. I had to reposition on the Primes. So anyway, after that the race started pretty well for me but then Seb…he was gone. He was in another category out in front and I had to have a little battle with Nico for second. Guys did a great job on the car all week here. Nice and reliable. Fans have been great: plenty of Aussie flags here as well, so thanks guys coming from Australia. And…yeah, on to Austin and few more to go. Thank you.
You’ve ended up in an era where you’re unfortunately [Sebstian] Vettel’s team-mate. That’s tough, isn’t it?
MW: Yeah. I think he’s in a sweet spot, for sure. Obviously I’ve got a few grey hairs now, I’m doing my best but yeah, he’s driving well. In the end I did my best today. It’s a circuit which…it’s my equal PB around here so would have liked to have got the win but that was Seb’s today. Thank You.
The start was decisive for you today. It got away from you there at that point but you were able to get Nico back. Perhaps you could talk a little bit about that move and also, is there a sense of disappointment, given that you did start from pole. You seemed to be smiling on the podium. How are your emotions at this point?
MW: Yeah, alright. I don’t think the start was decisive. I don’t think what happened off the line… Sebastian was in another category today. So probably this was the maximum result, even if we got away in front. He was quick and very, very strong. It was then obviously a recovery job against Nico who got a better start than both of us. Obviously it’s a short run to Turn One so…if it was a longer run he would probably have got both of us. But, Seb and myself, the last few races…we know starts is not exactly my strong point, especially on these little babies. On the little Pirellis. So, anyway, we got away and then got into the race from there. The Softs, I had a reasonably feeling for them when they were fresh but I had no real feeling for those tyres when they’re scrubbed. So, I was very slow in the first stint. Very, very poor feeling with the rear, and then that makes it even worse. You have more and more slip and temperature control problems and all of those type of things. Anyway, it was regrouping at the stops after that and I think my pace wasn’t too bad after that but Seb was well and truly gone. Incredibly quick pace from him. As you said, the fight with Nico was good. I managed to get that right. Obviously I didn’t use too [much] KERS. I think I understood a little bit of German with Nico. He said he used all his KERS on Paul in the first attempt, which was close. It’s always tricky to know how to deploy your KERS on those two straights but in the end I left some for the next attempt and managed to get him. It was good, fair racing which you’d expect from someone of Nico’s quality and in the end we probably are sitting here with the results that we all deserve.
Early in the race you were on the radio talking to the team about the KERS; was there a problem? And later in the race, given the number of gremlins that have struck your car, were you hearing funny noises and worrying about that?
MW: No, there was no issue with the KERS, it just got a bit warm at one point so we had to give it a chance to recover so that was fine, just a lap or so where we were a little bit out of sync with a better management so we recovered that. And at the end, not really. I can’t do much more than obviously keep pushing the car and obviously I had to…I couldn’t relax completely. Nico was going reasonably well but obviously we were just maintaining… did a few laps at the end just to let him know that I had a bit in hand, but he was probably doing the same so in the end we were getting the car home, mate. It’s always a surprise when the car stops on track obviously. Normally the ratio is that you finish so I was still confident that we could do that.
You have won at least one race a year with Red Bull since 2009; would it make a difference if don’t win a race in your last season?
MW: Well, it would be nice. I’ve challenged for a few victories here and there this year but [I was] not strong enough when it counted, but in the end, Seb was too strong today for the win. I’ve got a couple more races to go, all I can do is do my best. It’s not going to be a huge huge difference but it would be nice to get it as any grand prix victory is always special to get them. Yeah, we’ll keep pushing mate and see how we go in the next two races.
You said that you struggled with the scrubbed tyres in the first stint. Has that been a general feature this year for you? Why are they so unpredictable? Was it just particularly here on this circuit?
MW: When we go to this type of range of tyre it is probably a little bit more high maintenance for me to feel whether the tyre is in the race. It’s a little bit frustrating but that’s the way it is. If you want to go quick, you’ve got to go…obviously it’s such a fine, delicate balance, obviously and then you can feed the tyre a lot if you treat it in a different way but to get into that window is sometimes not obvious. I think that we’ve seen – like Korea, China, a few other races where we are probably a bit more on the front tyre. Of course I’m very fast, I’m quick but when we’re on the rears it’s a bit harder for me to be as competitive at certain times. That’s the way it is. The Primes weren’t too bad, I didn’t think we were going too badly on those in terms of feeling, anyway, but that’s the way it’s been the last…since 2011. I’m not going to learn now, mate. Old dog, new tricks, it’s over.
Subbed by AJN.