Mark Webber admits that he would rather have had a 'normal' grand prix in Belgium, but was happy to come away from Spa-Francorchamps with second place in a Red Bull 1-2.

The Australian, who had set the pace through free practice on Friday and Saturday, was restricted to third on the grid in qualifying, but was also caught up in tyre concerns after the Pirellis fitted to his RB7 - and others, including the pole-winning sister car of Sebastian Vettel - suffered sever blistering on their timed laps. When RBR's request to have the tyres changed was refused by the FIA, Webber, Vettel and senior personnel were left with the choice of starting on the damaged rubber and making an early pit-stop, or opting for a fresh set and starting from the pit-lane.

Having qualified strongly, both team and drivers chose the second option, with Webber pitting on lap three and Vettel on lap five. By then, however, the Australian was already having to fight his way back through the field after another poor getaway dropped him to eighth on the opening lap.

"The start was shocking," he conceded, "I dropped the lever and had anti-stall immediately. I think Seb also had a very close call, so that was a very disappointing way to start the grand prix.

"I saw [Bruno] Senna and a few guys in turn one smashing each other up, so it was important to get away from that scene with everything still intact and that was the case, [but] we were on the back foot from there, knowing that we were going to stop pretty early as our tyres were badly damaged after qualifying. We needed to get rid of that set quite early."

Opting to fit the harder Pirelli compound at his stop, Webber was able to make progress through the field as others took on tyres, but was then forced to run longer on the set than he had intended after a communication problem meant that he missed the window of opportunity to pit when the safety car emerged on lap 13.

"We had a bit of a fight with Fernando [Alonso] and he had very good grip on the option initially," the Australian noted, "[After that], I could stay with him for a very, very long stint on the prime tyre. The tyre was completely finished at the end, but that gave us track position back.

"However, we had a bit of a stuff-up on the radio. I was supposed to pit when Seb did with the safety car, but we had a completely blocked radio. I was asking three times in the Bus Stop 'do you want me to stop, do you want me to stop?', and gave them the radio back, but I heard nothing. I stayed out, and saw Fernando stayed out, so [there was] a little bit of confusion.

"It is hard to say [how it would have turned out]. If I could have had a fight with Seb through the middle part of the race, I would have, [but] I don't even know how close I was behind him or whatever. I probably would have been behind Nico [Rosberg] or whatever. I don't even know how it would have rolled out after that safety car. It was probably the better way for us to finish the race by pitting at that safety car, but we didn't know how good the prime tyre was going to be and, in the end, [missing the opportunity] wasn't a disaster either."

With Alonso forced to run the harder Pirellis for his final stint, Webber - who again fitted the sturdier rubber at his final stop - was able to reclaim second spot once and for all with seven laps to run, and the Australian paid tribute to the way the team had handled the various issues thrown its way over weekend.

"All in all, the way the team handled all the problems we had yesterday, overnight and this morning is credit to Adrian [Newey] and all his crew - all the guys on the floor, Christian [Horner] as well," he said, "It was not an easy grand prix for those guys on the pit wall watching the two drivers out there. It was reasonably sensitive for them so, in the end, we got a good result. I would have loved to have had a normal grand prix, but it was still an enjoyable race and we got a good result.

"I think it is a team result today, probably one of our best results ever as a team. It was pretty stressful last night, pretty stressful this morning. We are not just talking about blisters, we are talking about unknown characteristics of what the tyre might do, so it was handled well from our team's perspective, [particularly] putting the drivers right in the discussions to understand how we could get through the grand prix as safe as possible.

"I was giving them feedback on how the tyres looked, and it was a long stint given the misunderstanding with the pit-stop around the safety car, so we had to commit to going very, very long on that set of tyres. I had a very, very big vibration on them, which is not unusual, but that cleared up when I put the fresh set on. The main thing we were interested in was looking at the fronts on the inside shoulder. My set after qualifying were in a very bad way so we had to get rid of those very quickly, but my race was pretty heavily compromised after I got the anti-stall.

"I thought I'd got passed by about 30 cars, but got to turn one and most of them had hit each other, which was good, and I came out the other side. I thought some of them would have been a bit more patient given they are in a good position and they haven't qualified there before, but it turned good for me. The car was very, very good after that - we had a reasonable fight with Fernando and, once I'd caught him, it was clear I had a pace advantage. At the end, we just brought the car home."


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