Mark Webber was left to wonder whether a couple of tactical differences could have given him a better result in the Korean Grand Prix, and allowed Red Bull racing to celebrate its second successive F1 constructors' title with another 1-2 finish.
While the Australian acknowledged that he would not have been able to match race-winning team-mate Sebastian Vettel, he was frustrated to have had to follow McLaren's Lewis Hamilton home in third place, believing that pitting a lap earlier or later than the Briton may have made the difference to his result [see story here
]. Additionally, Webber suggested that, contrary to popular belief before the race weekend, he may even have been able to go further on his Pirelli tyres.
"My race was good, but we know how key it is to get everything right to get released and get the race pace that you really have," he reflected, "In the end, we did a good job, but I think that the McLaren was very strong off the corners. It had very good bottom end and mid-range and this made it a little bit more difficult to pull the move off. In the end, I tried to mix it up a little bit by passing him into turn one and then tried to get a bit more of a tow on the straight and then create some more pressure later in the lap. But, really, I think the last pit-stop was really what snookered us, I suppose.
"We did a good job in the first stop and got ourselves in good position. Obviously, the safety car was not a big deal for everyone -it obviously just brought everyone back together but I think, at the second stop, we did the worst thing. We didn't stop before or stop after [Hamilton], we stopped on the same lap. That was disappointing as clearly we had some good pace to pull away.
"I was informing the team that my tyres were still good, but we still pitted, [and] it was a bit disappointing to do the same thing as Lewis because we should have done something different. In the end, I think it was a good battle for both of us, and that's what F1 racing should be about. It wasn't on the edge, but it was just a good race and we pushed each other hard.
"I don't know if it was possible but, earlier in the stint, we spoke about going longer [on the tyres], but I just stayed with Lewis to keep using the DRS. I was expecting to go quite a bit longer, but we didn't get to do it in the end. I felt much more comfortable on the prime than in the first stint. I had extremely poor balance, but I was very comfortable in the car on the harder tyre - I couldn't do much with it."
Team-mate Vettel agreed that tyre wear had been better than predicted but, fortunately, the team's decision to save tyres in qualifying had not cost it victory.
"We ended up stopping way less than we thought," the German confirmed, "The first couple of laps, the car felt good and the balance was alright and I think, for all the cars, it was a little bit the same thing. We expected much more degradation, but it didn't come. Eventually it came, but much later, so you delayed the first stop, the second stop and, by the time you found out, you realised that you didn't have to stop three times within ten laps.
"It was a very good race from that side. Tyres and tyre management wasn't easy. I think we were on top of it for most of the race and, especially towards the end of the stints on the soft tyre, I was able to gain on Lewis. As it turned out, the options were fine for the first two stints and carried us a long way through the race. Much more than we all expected, so we ended up fitting options again and then going for the prime and going to the end. Going into the weekend I think we were thinking about a lot of stops, but it turned out to not really be the case."