Mark Webber has admitted that the destiny of the 2009 F1 World Championship crown will likely be decided by performances on Saturday afternoons after losing a shot at British Grand Prix glory due to qualifying woes – and he insisted that despite still being in search of his breakthrough grand prix success, he should not be written out of contention.
He may have yet to triumph after no fewer than 129 starts in the top flight and has mounted the rostrum on only six occasions, but four of those appearances have come this year, with runner-up spots in China, Turkey and Britain and third place in Spain, meaning the current campaign is the one in which the Australian has come the closest yet to tasting victory champagne.
That run of strong results has left Webber a challenging fourth in the points standings approaching the halfway stage, 28.5 markers shy of runaway early-season pace-setter Jenson Button, but only 5.5 adrift of the sister Brawn GP of Rubens Barrichello and 3.5 away from his own Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel, a man who has twice ascended the top step of the podium over the opening eight races.
It has been comfortably the finest start to a season the New South Wales native has ever enjoyed at the highest level, despite still having to contend with the after-effects of a broken leg sustained during his annual outdoor charity adventure Pure Tasmania Challenge last November. Moreover, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is adamant that the battle between Webber and Vettel is wide open, with not so much of a hint of team orders – and the man from Queanbeyan reckons that both are now set to give Button and Brawn GP a very hard time of it indeed.
“I'm getting some pretty good results,” the 32-year-old told Sky Sports
. “I've had very consistent Sunday afternoons, [but] Saturday is crucial, we know that, in terms of how tight it is between the four of us, and especially in the last few events.
“I'm still very confident that I can haul some good points in the future. Whether that's enough to be consistently ahead remains to be seen, [but] I'm out there and I'm very happy with my performances so far this year.
“It doesn't take much to turn things round, so I'm looking forward to the Nürburgring – it could be mixed conditions – and then we've got Budapest. There are some good races coming up which will test us again, and I'm looking forward to it.”