18 November 2013
United States Grand Prix: Missing pole cost me race win - Webber
Missing out on pole position at the last minute on Saturday cost Mark Webber the chance to win the United States GP, the driver said after finishing in third place in Austin.
Mark Webber added another podium finish to a tally that now stands at 41 from a total of 214 Grand Prix starts, but it's not the result he wanted when he headed to the Circuit of the Americas for his last-ever United States Grand Prix before his retirement from F1 in seven days time.
And as far as the Australian was concerned, the matter was pretty much decided the day before the race - the moment when he just narrowly lost out on pole position to his Red Bull Racing team mate Sebastian Vettel.
"Pole position was very important yesterday," he said. "I know it cost me a better result today ... Qualifying was where a lot of the race was decided.
"We knew it was going to be difficult from there," said Webber, after he had found himself starting from second place on Sunday. "The initial launch and my getaway was pretty good [but] Romain [Grosjean] had a good start too.
"I wanted to get on the right for the breaking point at the first corner, but that's what everyone did too," he continued. "I got boxed in and didn't get a good exit off the corner, but after that it was a strong race."
With Webber suffering slightly from wheel spin on the dirty side of the track, Grosjean was able to run around the outside of turn 1 and take over second place, with Lewis Hamilton also managing to slip through the opening made by the Lotus. It took Webber 14 laps to get back past the Mercedes using DRS, but tackling Grosjean proved another matter entirely.
"It was not easy to pass Romain, he drove very well and he was very clean on the exit of turns 8 and 9," Webber explained. "The DRS in the end was a little bit short on ratios, but that's how you get the ratios right for the whole race.
"Our pace was good, but you have to manage the tyres well here," he said. "In the end I did what we could, but I think we left some on the table yesterday [in qualifying]"
Webber was helped but a blisteringly fast pit stop when he needed it, which the Red Bull team clocked at 1.923s which if verified would break the team's previous record of 2.05s set at the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier in the year.
All things considered, Webber said that he could hardly quibble with the outcome of his final Grand Prix in North America.
"Good job for the whole team and I'm happy to finish on the podium for the last time in the US in F1," he said. "I have some family and friends here this weekend, so it's good to get a strong result. It would have been better to have had a win, but Seb did a good job here this weekend."
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