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Webber driving for the win in Abu Dhabi
4 November 2012
Having qualified on the front row alongside McLaren's Mark Webber for the start of the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, Mark Webber made it clear that he had no intention of rolling over and making it easy for anyone on race day - not even his team mate, world championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Speaking before the news emerged that Vettel's qualification times were being deleted and the German was being forced to start from pit lane at the back of the field for the race at Yas Marina, Webber made it clear what he thought about team orders coming into play this weekend.
Asked how he would approach the Grand Prix, Webber answered simply: "Drive flat out."
Webber certainly fancied his chances of winning the race, especially now that Vettel is no longer in the picture at the start of the race leaving Webber to focus on outrunning polesitter Lewis Hamilton to the first corner.
"Lewis' starts lately haven't been phenomenal so let's see if he has a good one," he said. " Generally it's down to how the clutch is and things like that – it's not really down to Lewis.
"We'll see how they go off the line but I'm looking to go forward, for sure," he added. "Then we'll get settled into the race and see where everyone is after that."
Having been outspoken about Romain Grosjean's standard of driving after a recent clash with the Lotus driver on the first lap of the Japanese Grand prix last month - dubbing the Frenchman a "first-lap nutcase" - Webber skipped over any mention of another of this season's 'bad boys' who will be starting right behind Hamilton and Webber on the grid. Williams' Pastor Maldonado could make that first corner outcome even more interesting than usual.
Webber was clearly surprised by the pace shown by Hamilton to clinch pole by a big margin on Saturday, after a spell of recent Red Bull domination in qualifying sessions.
"All credit to Lewis, he's obviously got a quick car this weekend and he bumped us off the front row, that's the first time in a while, maybe since six or eight weeks ago when we had a good run," he said. "They've done a good job today. Credit where it's due and we did the best we could."
Webber admitted that he and the team had to find something extra for the race itself, however. "Yeah, a little trouble this weekend but overall we're positive and looking for a good strong run," he insisted.
"We've got a little bit of a fire going which we need to tidy up and the quality of the team is exceptional, we know what we need to improve on, to help our championships along," he said. "Obviously Seb's still involved in the drivers' [title battle], and the constructors' is still important to us."
With Vettel out of the picture at least for the first stage of the race, the team will be relying on Weber to bring home as many constructors' championship points as he can - giving him the green light to go for a win.
But Vettel's problems in qualifying, and his own technical gremlins on Webber, are also a concern for the team and for Webber if it means that reliability issues are set to ruin their Abu Dhabi campaign.
"Yeah, we realised we've got to work on our reliability," he agreed. "We've had a few issues of late and that's something the group is on. There's nothing Sebastian and I can do about it. It's not our job, it's their job and they know they've got to improve."
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