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Webber makes best of a bad situation at Sepang

A KERS-less Mark Webber found the going tough indeed in today's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, but the Red Bull Racing star determinedly made a risky strategy pay off to recover to fourth at the chequered flag
Having extolled the benefits of running KERS as a 'no-brainer' in the build-up to this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, Mark Webber unfortunately ended up giving a graphic demonstration of just how important it was around the Sepang International Circuit, as he found himself without the power boost right from the word 'go' on race day today.

After qualifying third in Kuala Lumpur, Webber reported that he had no KERS on the warming-up lap around to the grid, and when the starting lights went out, he was duly swamped, ending the opening lap just ninth. From there, the Red Bull Racing star – who had been so desperate to bounce back and kick his title challenge into gear in Malaysia following an immensely disappointing home outing in Melbourne a fortnight ago – engaged in an entertaining early battle with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, being able to overtake the Japanese ace into the corners, but finding himself breezed back past again along the straights.

Having finally shaken his rival off, Webber set about limiting the damage to his finishing position, and boldly made a risky four-stop strategy pay off as he hunted down and passed Ferrari's Felipe Massa and – on fresh tyres – made easy meat of the ailing Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages. Just a handful of laps more, and the Australian would very likely have got Nick Heidfeld for third, too – so in the circumstances and given what might have been, it was a stirring recovery.

“It was a tough race today,” the 34-year-old acknowledged. “Even out-of-the-box, it wasn't a good start and we had a failure with the KERS, so I was out-of-position on the first lap and you get killed on the long run with no KERS. For the first three or four laps, I was trying to pass people, but they were coming back at me on the straights; it was tough to clear people when I didn't have KERS.

“Anyway, I fought back with a good strategy and got some good points, at least. I would have liked to have gone a bit longer on my fourth set [of tyres] to have a better-condition set for the end to nail the guys who were in trouble, but I was losing a lot of time behind Lewis, who was in strange trouble very quickly with his set.

“It was an interesting grand prix and we keep learning. I was disappointed not to get on the podium – it was close, but not close enough – and it's not our day yet, but I'm pushing for it to come.”

“Mark had a poor initial getaway and unfortunately a KERS issue denied him the use of that, meaning he got swamped down to Turn One,” reflected Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, “but it was a great recovery drive from him with a different strategy – he really made it work, and ultimately he was very unlucky to miss out on the final podium position.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
10.04.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 leads Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Lotus Renault GP, R31
09.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
09.04.2011- Qualifying, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
09.04.2011- Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
09.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
09.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
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April 10, 2011 11:50 PM

a lot of bitterness on crash towards Webber. Fact is that he did not use KERS once during the race because it failed, meaning he was swamped at the start. To then recover from tenth into the first corner to finishing fourth is an amazing drive. His move on Massa was gutsy and full of finesse. I'd imagine that with KERS, he'd have been on the podium. Compare it to Hamilton and Alonso (probably the top two drivers in skill on the track) and how their days turned out with much fewer mechanical issues and it shows how Mark drove above himself yesterday.

Sparky62 - Unregistered

April 10, 2011 11:55 PM

You guys are complete and utter ****ers. It was not an excuse, it was a FACT. Even the onboard telemetry shown on TV showed kers was not working. It had failed at the end of qualifying so they knew it might fail in the race as well so that is why they had the four stop strategy already planned. Instead of praising the bloke for keeping his cool and using his exceptional driving talent to get 4th place you still feel it necessary to heap crap upon him. Not only did it mean far slower speed down the straight, his braking power was also substantially reduced. His was the drive of the race.

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