Mark Webber believes that he could have joined Red Bull
team-mate Sebastian Vettel
on the Canadian Grand Prix
podium had it not been for a moment of inattention from backmarker Giedo van der Garde.
The Australian was running in third place and closing on Lewis Hamilton, albeit coming under pressure of his own from Fernando Alonso, when the pair chanced upon van der Garde at the hairpin towards the end of lap 37. Thinking that the Dutch rookie had seen him and was allowing room for the battle to pass to his inside, Webber made his move, only to find the Caterham closing the door….
“I don't know what he was doing,” Webber fumed, “We had a lot of blue flags as we approached the hairpin and I rolled to the inside, giving him plenty of space so he knew I was there. But, when we got to the apex he tried to hit it! I don't know what was going on with that.
“The incident caused some front wing damage and made it more difficult. The whole top section of the wing was gone on the left hand side, so it didn't help from then on.”
Having had to start from fifth on the grid, Webber knew that it was imperative to clear the surprise of qualifying, Valtteri Bottas, as early as possible if he was to make a push for the top three.
“I got a sensational start, but I didn't have too many places to go,” he admitted, “I went to the middle and Bottas and Nico [Rosberg] were there, so I went to the other side and lost some momentum. We are certainly getting our starts sorted, but so far there's been no opportunity to show how good they have been!”
Having dealt with Bottas, however, the Australian found himself trapped behind Rosberg's Mercedes, while the top two pulled away.
“We lost some time with Nico in the first stint, and the car was getting hot behind him in the slipstream,” he said, explaining some unusual lines as he attempted to cool the RB9's temperatures, “Once I got in free air, however, the car was handling much better.”
Although he lost out to Alonso shortly after the contact with van der Garde, Webber was able to overcome the handicap of his broken wing – which Red Bull
opted not to change as his final pit-stop – to set the fastest lap of the race on his way to fourth.
“There were some positives from today,” he smiled, “but it would have been nicer to have finished a bit further up the road....”