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Webber: Lewis thought chequer was at turn three!

Despite an early tangle with Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber gambled and took a podium finish in the Canadian Grand Prix.
He may have been beaten by team-mate Sebastian Vettel for the seventh time in seven races, but Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber was delighted to join the German on the podium at the end of a frenetic Canadian Grand Prix.

The Australian had been a little frustrated to line up only fourth on the grid as Vettel claimed another pole, but his afternoon get worse almost immediately after McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton slid into him while attempting to overtake at the end of the safety car period that started the race. The impact, while not enough to damage either car, was sufficient to turn Webber's car around in front of the pack, and he was well down the order by the time he rejoined.

"I think Lewis thought the chequered flag was in turn three," Webber sighed later, "I tried to give him some room, [and] I know it's easy to clip someone, but I think it was a bit clumsy that early in the race. I lost a lot of positions."

The pace of the Red Bull machine, combined with Webber's ability to use it in the tricky conditions, meant that he was quickly back into the points, before pitting for a second set of full wet tyres shortly before the stewards decided that the incessant rain was making the track too dangerous to continue. The strategy cost the Australian a handful of places as those who had yet to stop before the red flag appeared were able to change tyres on the grid, but again he set about repairing the damage once racing resumed.

"Obviously, [Kamui] Kobayashi, the two Renaults and [Paul] di Resta – guys that I [had] passed already – got me with the free pit-stop under the suspended race," he acknowledged, "So I had to get back past those guys, which wasn't too bad but, when a dry line started to appear, it's actually difficult to pull moves off because there's not much room to get down the inside."

The appearance of that dry line was enough to prompt Webber to consider pitting for slicks, the first driver in the field to do so.

"I had to roll the dice a little bit," he admitted, "It was very hard to clear some of those guys with the dry line when you were trying to come through. Obviously, you have got the experienced guys like Michael [Schumacher] and [Nick] Heidfeld and those guys. [who] know what they are doing.

"I was happy to see not everyone taking [the same decision on] the next lap after me as I thought they would, so the two laps were enough to bring me back into the game for the podium. It was very much on the edge. I knew parts of the track were going to be tricky initially and, if you get on the grass, obviously, it's all over. So that tended to work out for me, I gained quite a few seconds with that and then arrived on the back of Michael.

"We had a reasonable battle, same thing, trying to get that dry line in the last chicane. It was difficult, as we both wanted the same bit of track for the main braking point for the chicane. In the end, we got there, but when JB [Jenson Button] arrived, he was absolutely flying and I was trying to be - we were all trying to be - as fair as we could. Even if I got Michael early, JB would probably have picked me off as well. I passed Michael through the chicane, so I had to give the position back, but, in the end, these are the results we all deserve today.

"Everything was thrown in there today, it was a tough grand prix for all of us. I'm sure it was a good race for the neutrals watching at home, but a few grey hairs for us. Clearly it's Jenson's day, he deserved the win and drove a great race. Seb did a phenomenal job, but obviously it is easy to make a mistake in those conditions. I think third was the maximum I could get today after the first lap with Lewis, [and it's] great points for us as a team in the Constructors' championship.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.06.2011- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 leads Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
12.06.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 leads Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
12.06.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
12.06.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
12.06.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
12.06.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 race winner, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 2nd position and Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 3rd position
12.06.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 3rd position
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Dee - Unregistered

June 13, 2011 3:32 PM

Rob/Commodore, I think he simply meant that Jenson deserved the win with the drive he had, rather than a slight against Seb. After he said it, Seb looked at him with a none-too-happy look on his face. Immediately after Webber said it, I think he suddenly realised what he'd said and quickly mentioned the good work Seb had done. Still, it's better than a driver being all diplomatic and not actually saying anything at all. We need more drivers to speak their mind and not pussy-foot around things.

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