Mark Webber has admitted that it is 'the usual suspects up at the front' thus far in Abu Dhabi this weekend – and ahead of one of the most tense and unpredictable title-deciders in recent F1 memory, the Red Bull Racing star has conceded that there is precious little to choose between the three principal protagonists.
Webber lapped fourth-quickest in FP1 at Yas Marina and then replicated that in FP2, though whilst he trailed his pace-setting RBR team-mate Sebastian Vettel by more than a second during the afternoon session, come the evening, the Australian had reduced the deficit to less than two tenths of a second.
Indeed, by the end of the second session, second-placed Vettel, world championship leader Fernando Alonso in third and Webber in fourth found themselves separated by a mere 17 hundredths of a second. Even more intriguingly, the only other man still in contention to lift the laurels – McLaren-Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton – was fastest of anyone, and the Briton needs
to win to have any chance at all of clinching the crown on Sunday. It is, acknowledges Webber, going to be a thriller.
“That was a good day,” affirmed the 34-year-old New South Wales native. “We had an engine change in-between the two sessions, which was planned, but it was the usual suspects up at the front today and Fernando, Seb and I were pretty much on similar times.
“The car is close to what we had in Brazil – it's hard to develop a car which is pretty solid already. It feels a bit like we're in Bahrain here in terms of the engineers' office and in the car it feels like a normal weekend, but obviously there's a lot more at stake. That's the only thing that's changed, but you can't try any harder.”