Mark Webber may have been 'disappointed' not to have been able to challenge for his breakthrough F1 victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – but he nonetheless underlined that Red Bull Racing's second one-two finish of the 2009 campaign was an 'incredible injection' for the team and admitted that in truth he had lost his chance of winning the previous day.
Having proven to be at least a match for highly-rated RBR team-mate Sebastian Vettel throughout practice around the popular Northants circuit – one where he achieved the finest grid position of his top flight career to-date last year in second – Webber headed into qualifying looking a strong bet to seal his maiden pole position, and he was rapid in both Q1 and Q2.
Despite comfortably showing the way during the first half of the all-important top ten shoot-out, however, a wayward Kimi Raikkonen on his final flying lap ultimately consigned the Australian to just third place, an agonising twelve thousandths of a second shy of the front row. Come race day, that would make all the difference.
“It's a great day for the team,” reflected the New South Wales native, after taking the chequered flag 15 seconds behind Vettel in the runner-up spot at the close. “I'm disappointed not to take the win, but I think I lost my chance for victory yesterday during qualifying. I should have been on the front row and, if so, I would have tried to make Sebastian work a bit harder in the first stint when I was behind Rubens [Barrichello].
“I saved a lot of fuel in the first stint, which meant we were able to jump Rubens at the first pit-stop. I don't think I could have done much more today, and congratulations to Sebastian – he drove a good first stint, which is what laid the foundations for his win.
“As to the team, the guys have buried themselves recently with night shifts, and the attention to detail that they go to is a credit to them. They're being led very well, and they're responding to that. Results help and it's an incredible injection for them to get the top result, a one-two on local turf.
“I enjoyed it today. Silverstone is an amazing track and it's incredible to go through that first sector, lap after lap. It's a great place to drive a Formula 1 car and the British fans are always fantastic, so it was great today.”
The third runner-up finish of his season has consolidated Webber's solid fourth position in the drivers' title chase, 3.5 markers adrift of Vettel and closing on Barrichello in second. The Milton Keynes-based outfit's team principal Christian Horner was full of praise for the oft-underrated 32-year-old's performance after the race.
“Mark did a brilliant job,” the Englishman stressed. “He was very patient when he needed to be behind Rubens in the first stint.”