Webber wants no gifts from team-mate
30 October 2011
Mark Webber insists that he will not readily accept hand-outs from Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel, even if it means that he secures second place in the 2011 F1 world championship.
The Australian has had to watch as Vettel cruised to ten wins, and a second successive F1 crown, this season, and is embroiled in a four-way scrap for second in the standings with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and the two McLaren drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Despite having seen the title slip through his fingers in 2010, however, Webber does not appear to desperate to secure his best-ever championship finish, and definitely doesn't want team orders to rein Vettel in for his benefit.
"I think wins are more important for me," he said, echoing the thoughts expressed by both Button and Hamilton in the build-up to this weekend's Indian Grand Prix, "Nothing will be different. There's been a lot of talk from the team, but no talk from me. I don't want any positions off Sebastian, for the remainder of the year. Nothing will change."
Vettel was no more forthcoming about any plans to help the Australian's cause, merely insisting that he was hoping that Red Bull was in a position to beat its rivals.
"We will see," he mused, "First, we have to get there and, as Lewis said, it is a long race. Lewis starts in fifth, I think, Fernando [Alonso] behind and Jenson [Button] as well, so they will surely put a lot of pressure on us.
"It is a new track, we don't know really how the tyres will respond, so it is not the time now to worry about those things. First we have to race, race hard, enjoy and then see where we are. I think Mark and myself will obviously target to win the race and, ideally, we want to finish one-two, so it is going to be an interesting race."
Webber qualified third fastest for the inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit, but was promoted to the front row of the grid when Hamilton's post-practice penalty was applied. Although Vettel qualified on pole - his 13th of the season - the Australian appeared happy with his performance, even if the team was still learning about the track.
"It has been a good challenge for all of us, [with a] new venue, [and] tricky to work out the right strategy for qualifying," he reported, "Qualy around here was always going to be pretty interesting, given what we saw in P3 and yesterday with what we saw with the tyres, how they are behaving and how you prepare them and get them ready. We saw some different strategies, people looking to do a few laps, people electing to do one lap.
"The first sector is very tricky when you do one timed [lap] so I definitely left some change on the table there but, after that, I was pretty happy with the lap. Then I got yellow flags with Felipe [Massa's accident], so I couldn't do my second lap. But overall good job from the team, and I'm pretty happy with the recovery from P2, when I was in a bit of strife really. [They] came to a new venue but prepared well and have laid a good foundation for a good race tomorrow."
Although he was impressed with the new circuit, Webber admitted that the potential remained for mistakes to determine the running order in the race.
"The simulators are pretty good these days, but you just don't quite know how the grip level is going to go on the track," he noted, "It is not too bad and it is probably the smoothest track in the world. It is very, very smooth - and it is pretty quick and exciting. I think the debris off-line will get worse during the race and, in the quick chicanes, we are going to have a lot of people making some errors here and there. But, generally, it should be fine."