Mark Webber is relishing the prospect of a close fight in the Canadian Grand Prix after equalling both his and Red Bull Racing's best qualifying performance of the campaign with sixth place in Montreal - and now he wants to open his points-scoring account for the year too.

The Australian has looked strong all weekend behind the wheel of the Adrian Newey-designed RB3, and his third row starting spot is testament to the progress the Milton Keynes based squad has made with the car in recent weeks. Around a circuit where drivers have been flying off-course in all directions due to its high speeds and dusty nature, Webber has barely put a foot wrong, and should the same be true come the race he is optimistic of belatedly getting himself on the scoreboard at last.

"I'm very happy," he enthused to journalists at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, "especially seeing as we didn't go bananas with the fuel load in Q3. We had two runs on the super-soft tyres, and I was seventh after the first set and sixth after the second. It was all reasonably tidy. I would have liked to have got the first sector a bit better, but the second and third I was reasonably pleased with.

"You certainly have to control your aggression here, especially going into the chicane. It's very easy to overcook that. You seem to go in deeper and deeper every lap, but at the same time you have to try not to get sucked into it.

"The car has felt good and we have been quite competitive throughout the weekend on all fuel loads. It's nice to finish off a qualifying session with no real problems; the team has done a good job. There's now a long race ahead of us tomorrow. It will be interesting and I'm looking forward to it."

The 30-year-old has had rotten luck thus far in 2007, being forced to retire from the past three races in succession as RBR fought persistent reliability gremlins. Having been around in the sport since 2002, but with only one podium to his name to date, he admits is can be a cruel mistress but is determined to start moving forwards with a vengeance.

"In four of the five races so far this year I've retired whilst in the points," he acknowledged. "The races have been pretty sound, but it would be nice if the points added up for us! Obviously we are starting in the points here, but we respect the opposition around us.

"You never know - I might be able to get ahead of Felipe (Massa) at the start, even if we can't really compete with Ferrari on race pace. Then there's Nico (Rosberg), (Robert) Kubica, Fisi (Giancarlo Fisichella) and Jarno (Trulli) all behind us, so at least we are in the right part of the top ten.

"Since I've been in Formula 1 obviously I haven't won a race. The performance of the vehicle is very dominant in this category and it's not nice to consistently fail, but you've got to keep coming back and being hopeful."

 

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