After a weekend where his future was again at the centre of speculation in the F1 paddock, Mark Webber maintains that he will not be thinking about anything other than what he needs to do to stay in the championship battle when racing starts at Interlagos.
The Australian conducted a tense media gathering at the start of the weekend, littering his replies with expletives as the pressure of facing up to the challenge of Fernando Alonso combined with suggestions that he was set to quit Red Bull Racing. Fortunately, his on-track performance was not obviously affected as he claimed third place in qualifying, with only RBR team-mate Sebastian Vettel of his title rivals ahead of him, and Webber insists that he will be similarly focused when the visor comes down and the lights go out on Sunday afternoon.
"When I'm in the car, absolutely, [my mind is] completely clear," he claimed, "We've seen that with my performances in the last five or six races. Of course, Korea didn't turn out [as we would have hoped]. but none of us have had perfect seasons this year. With the exception of that, I've been very happy with how I've driven, and you can't drive like that if you're not happy. The boys on the floor, everyone here, we're all in great spirits and ready to go and have a good race tomorrow. That's our focus."
With Nico Hulkenberg taking a surprise pole position as he got the better of his more illustrious rivals in drying conditions, the two Red Bulls will line up ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with points leader Fernando Alonso back in fifth on the grid. While third may not be the ideal place from which to kick-start his ambitions, Webber insists that things could have been a lot worse on the tricky surface.
"It is very easy, in those conditions, to get things wrong, so I am very happy to be right towards the front and to get something out of that last session," he claimed, "It was really, really tricky to get the clean laps in and I did my absolute best. It was pretty close between Seb and I but then, similar to Sebastian, I looked at the times and saw Nico. His car was obviously working very well and he was very confident and got the most out of it.
"He made all of us look pretty average today and, apart from him, I don't think any of us got a mega-clean lap, but I'm happy - it could easily have been 17th today, couldn't it? It was a very tricky session for all the drivers. If you'd asked me after Q2 if I would have been happy with third, maybe not so but, after the session... It was a very, very tricky session on slicks, so it's good to be on the second row and I'm in a good position to start the race."
And, even though Alonso lines up directly behind him on the grid, Webber insists that his mind won't be on his rival come race day.
"Where he is, is better [for us] than [him being on] pole, but it also could have been worse [for him]," the Australian reasoned, "Yeah, it could have been a slightly tougher day for him but, as Seb said, he's fifth on the grid and we're not exactly driving around worrying about where he is because I'm not in the Ferrari, I'm in the Red Bull. We will see where we are tomorrow afternoon."