Mark Webber insists that he has not lodged a formal protest against Lewis Hamilton's tactics behind the safety car in Japan, despite losing what he felt was a certain podium result after being taken out by rookie Sebastian Vettel.

Both Red Bull drivers have remarked about Hamilton's accelerating and braking behind the pace car at Fuji, with Webber particularly outspoken in Thursday press conference, but the Australian, mindful that his British rival is being mentioned in connection with possible penalties, claims not to have spoken directly to the authorities about the matter.

"I would just like to make it clear that, although I criticised Hamilton's driving in yesterday's FIA press conference, at no time have I made any official complaint about
anyone's driving following Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix," he said in a brief statement following Friday's two free practice sessions.

Webber finished the opening day of the Chinese Grand Prix meeting sixth on the timesheets after Red Bull Racing enjoyed a strong afternoon session.

"We got through our schedule okay and the car was reliable," he noted, "We're going to run through a few things tonight to see if we can get a bit more consistency but, apart from that, it was a good P2. P1 wasn't that great for us,- but P2 was much better and it's something strong for us to work with tonight."

RBR team-mate David Coulthard backed Webber up in eighth place, the pair sandwiching Ralf Schumacher's Toyota, less than a second of Kimi Raikkonen's ultimate pace.

"We ran through our programme well today and, balance-wise, we're looking okay," the Scot added, "We had a good tyre evaluation, so we're not overly concerned by the choices we have to make for tomorrow. Our times were competitive but, to be honest, irrespective of where we are on Fridays, if you look at Saturday's qualifying times, it's been quite similar throughout the year with McLaren, Ferrari, BMW and then Red Bull with Renault, Toyota and Williams. I think it will be similar tomorrow."

 

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