Mark Webber has waxed lyrical about the performance of what he describes as 'by far the best team I have ever been with' after Red Bull Racing 'blew everyone away' in last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang – despite not even needing to push too hard.
The Australian followed team-mate Sebastian Vettel home in a dominant Red Bull one-two in Kuala Lumpur as the energy drinks-backed outfit finally succeeded in doing what it has been threatening to do since the beginning of the campaign – run away and hide.
Whilst wheelspin when the starting lights went out allowed Vettel to out-drag him off the grid, and a subsequent wheel gun delay at his pit-stop put paid to any hopes he might have had of leapfrogging the German into the lead – 'a little bit of salt in the wounds', he admitted – Webber was full of praise for his team for what was by any measure a consummate success. It was, moreover, one for which he acknowledged the drivers didn't need to overly stretch either themselves or their equipment, even if the pair did trade fastest lap times in the run-up to the stops.
“The team performed incredibly well the whole weekend,” the New South Wales native underlined. “We were very quick all weekend and it was very important that we had a clean run [in qualifying] in a very tricky session. It could easily have gone wrong for us, but both of us did a good job in tough conditions which laid the foundations for a clear race.
“It's really tough fighting your team-mate as we have an amazing chemistry in our team [between] all the mechanics, Renault, everybody – we arrive at every track in such a good style and want to get the best result we can. Every team is like that, but this is by far the best team I have ever been with in terms of wanting to get the results. When you have got all those guys in your mind it is not the best thing to see Red Bull Racing wheels flying in the air, so we had a good, fair fight but in the end Seb got it. Both of us pushed each other to the end and that was that.
“I don't think the pit-stop cost me the victory. The start cost me the victory, and then when the first car is leading, he sort of has priority [regarding] when he can stop – it was clear. Obviously if I stopped first there was a big chance I could jump Sebastian, but that would not have been fair for the guy who was leading. It was really down to the start and who had track position in the first stint.
“When Sebastian peeled off for his stop, I pushed. Obviously I found quite a bit more pace on the in-lap, but it's not enough to take on the fresh tyres of a competitor, because we know the cars are the same weight. In seasons gone-by obviously the cars were different weights because of the fuel. Now they're the same weight and [on] fresh tyres, so it's very difficult to fight.
“It was a luxury for Seb and I not to have to kill the engines, kill the tyres, kill everything because the gap to the other guys was more comfortable, no question about it. Nico [Rosberg – Mercedes Grand Prix] drove a good race, but I think there were some quicker guys – maybe particularly Lewis [Hamilton] – who had a different day, starting at the back. Tactically the race could have been a little bit different if he was around, or Fernando [Alonso] or Felipe [Massa].
“As Jack Brabham used to say, 'Win at the slowest possible speed – one second or 30 seconds is the same result'. We were very much in control of the race. It's not always going to be like that, but when it is, you have to make the most of it. It was a sensational result for the team and we got what we deserved. Other races we didn't as we weren't prepared. Here we were prepared – and we blew everyone away.”