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F1 Bahrain 2013: Webber looking for Sakhir respite

19 April 2013

Mark Webber has admitted that he could with a change of fortune at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix following a fraught couple of races in Malaysia and China.

While the Australian finished on the podium at Sepang, the result did not go down well following the 'Multi21' saga, and any hope of bouncing back strongly in Shanghai ended when his Red Bull ran out of fuel in qualifying. Relegated to the back of the grid, Webber then collided with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne before losing a wheel following his second pit-stop and being forced to retire.

A post-race penalty for the Vergne incident then set him back even before he had set foot in Bahrain, but Webber is hoping that he has now used up his bad luck.

"China was going so well up until qualifying,” he reflected, “Then the wheels literally fell off the weekend. It was very tricky after that, and a bit frustrating, but I'm very happy with how I'm driving, and the team are doing a good job in terms of what I need to be quick in the car.

"In terms of reliability problems, we know that they will be addressed very quickly, and we will go forward from there."

With Red Bull expected to be a factor in Bahrain, the grid penalty is a minor hurdle for Webber overcome – the Australian has no gripe with the punishment although he feels Vergne could have left him more room to pass – but he is not about to rule out the likes of Lotus and Ferrari.

“I think we should be pretty quick here, and remember Kimi [Raikkonen] nearly won here from twelfth on the grid last year,” he confirmed, “But I expect that we will have some strong opposition.

Continuing to deny that he had signed any deal for next season - he has been linked to Porsche's new LMP programme for 2014 – Webber's grilling at the hands of those eager to inflame the stand-off with Vettel centred on an image posted on Twitter by friend and rival Fernando Alonso, and subsequently reposted by the Australian himself.

“I think there is a little bit of paranoia going around,” he said when asked if the dinner for two with his team-mate's big rival had any significance, “If that's the biggest subject [for the media], you guys are in trouble!

"I have known Fernando for 13 years, and I can give you lots of photos of me and Jenson [Button] together too. We catch up two or three times every year, so it's nothing special.”